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Dogs caught killing penguins in national park

Dogs caught killing penguins in national park
Dogs caught killing penguins in national park

Two people have been fined after their dogs were caught killing little penguins, or kororā in Tasman.

A family who took their dog to the Abel Tasman National Park, where dogs are banned, were fined $1,200 by the Department of Conservation (DOC) after killing a little penguin in Observation Bay.

They had taken their dog to the beach, he had gone into the wilderness and came back with a penguin in his mouth.

Another person was fined $200 by the Tasman District Council for failing to control his dog after it pulled a penguin from its den in Tapu Bay, near Kaiteriteri. The owner sought a vet, but the penguin died twelve hours later.

DOC Motueka biodiversity ranger Leon Everett said owners were responsible for knowing where to take their dogs and keeping them under control.

“It is a legal obligation for dog owners to wear a leash in public, even in an off-leash area. Dog owners should also be able to recall their dog immediately, not only to protect wildlife, but also to keep their dog safe. “

Everett said dogs should be walked on the wet sand at the beach to avoid the burrows of little blue penguins in bluffs and rocky banks and to avoid disturbing shorebird nesting areas in sand dunes or around driftwood.

People should stay away from flocks of resting shorebirds to avoid stressing them out.

“Little blue penguins are vulnerable not only when they move between the sea and their nests at dawn and dusk, but also when they are in their burrows.

“Penguins and other native birds that live on the ground cannot easily escape from dogs. It only takes a second for a dog to fatally injure a penguin, so owners must be alert to their dog’s behavior and be able to immediately remind them if they ‘showing an interest in wildlife.’