Over the years, ECOED, the Department of Conservation and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have all installed traps on walking tracks, roads and farmland in and around the park.
The trapping network, which has grown to more than 1000 units, includes DOC200, DOC250, SSRT and Timms traps. They target cats, ferrets, stoats, weasels, rats and hedgehogs. Traplines are checked at least once every month.
The Jobs for Nature programme initiated by the government has resulted in Te Ngahere providing valuable support to trapping in the Kaweka Forest Park.
Ferrets, cats and dogs are the biggest concern when it comes to adult kiwi survival; stoats predate on kiwi chicks – 95% of kiwi chicks are killed, mainly by stoats and dogs.
Dog attacks are particularly devastating to the volunteers.
Since 2020, there have been two confirmed dog-related deaths of kiwi in the Kaweka Forest Park. The true figure is probably higher. In June 2021, a SOKK volunteer found the body of a young male kiwi hidden under a shallow layer of earth. The kiwi had received injuries which pointed to an attack by a dog. Its attempted concealment pointed to an irresponsible owner.
A dog can injure or kill a kiwi very easily, because the kiwi’s chest-bone structure is weak. It does not take much of a bite or dog mouthing to kill them.
So there are strict rules on taking dogs into the park. DoC says: “Only registered avian-aversion-certified hunting dogs, guide dogs, companion dogs (certified by the Top Dog Companion Trust) and dogs used for special services (including conservation management activities) are permitted in the Kaweka Forest Park. All other dogs are banned.” One aversion-certified dog per hunter is allowed. DoC’s full dog policy can be read here.