Wahapu Hou – The Department of Conservation and Taranaki iwi are appealing for information after a native tākapu (gannet) was found shot at Tuiraho, a popular surfing beach in Taranaki.
The injured tākapu, a female, was found in mid-January by a member of the public who took the bird to Ōkato vets. From there it was sent it to Wildbase at Massey University in Palmerston North.
Despite efforts to save the tākapu it had to be euthanised. A necropsy was performed and the examination identified pellets of bird shot in its lungs and bone fractures.
Subsequent DOC investigations into the death of the bird since the January incident have seen DOC staff come up empty-handed so they are calling on the public for help.
DOC senior ranger biodiversity Cameron Hunt says the illegal shooting was a callous and inhumane act that left the bird injured and in pain.
“We ask any members of the public who might have information to contact DOC,” Ngawai Terry, pou taiao (environment manager) for Taranaki iwi says they are too deeply disappointed a member of the public would commit such an act.
Like all native wildlife, tākapu are protected under the Wildlife Act.
The maximum penalty for killing protected wildlife is up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $100,000. Anyone with information is being urged to contact DOC by phoning 0800DOCHOT.
With its 1.8 m wing-span, the Australasian gannet is a conspicuous, predominantly white seabird that is common in New Zealand coastal waters. They breed in dense colonies on coastal islands and on cliffs and beaches of some headlands of the New Zealand mainland; the breeding distribution also encompasses south-east Australia and Tasmania.
The largest New Zealand mainland gannetry is at Cape Kidnappers near Napier with around 5000 breeding pairs. Other mainland breeding sites include Muriwai and Farewell Spit.
Photo by Ōkato vets