Last week, hunters in New Zealand mistook four takahe birds for another species. As a result of the mistake, the rare birds were shot dead. The birds, which are indigenous to New Zealand, are endangered.
The incident happened at a sanctuary on New Zealand’s Motutapu Island, which is off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The hunters were members of the Deerstalkers’ Association, and they had permission to cull up to 600 pukeko birds, which are abundant in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation confirmed that the hunters made a mistake. This was regardless of the fact that the hunters were told about the differences between the two species of birds, according to BBC. The pukeko bird is described as being highly-aggressive and only half the size of the takahe, which is actually flightless.
The president of the Deerstalkers’ Association, Bill O’Leary, issued an apology to the New Zealand Department of Conservation, as well as to the rest of New Zealand.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the culling of the pukeko has come to a halt. This is a because of the takahe birds being shot and killed. The hunters were described as experienced members of the Deerstalkers Association.
The endangered New Zealand birds were found dead on August 17, and a statement by the New Zealand Department of Conversation was released on Friday. Andrew Baucke, the DOC’s Northern Conservation Services Director, said that the department is conducting an investigation and reviewing procedures involved with such operation. He was referring to the cull. According to International Business Times, Baucke added that the New Zealand Department of Conversation is talking to the hunters involved in the culling. He added that the association is cooperating with them.
This is not the first time that the endangered birds were shot in New Zealand. A few years ago, New Zealand introduced guidelines after an incident occurred on Mana Island. A takahe bird was shot, and it was mistaken during a pukeko cull.
At one point in time, the native New Zealand bird was thought to be extinct. However, it was rediscovered back in 1948, but the species remains endangered. This is despite the conservation efforts in New Zealand. As of now, the takahe’s population stands at around 300, including about 80 that are in the wild.
Some groups in New Zealand are not happy about the killings, and this includes Maori groups, who allowed the rare birds to be moved to Motutapu for conservation purposes. Rino Tirakatene, a member of the New Zealand parliament, said that the groups would have never sent the treasured takahe somewhere for it to be slaughtered, and now there are calls for the takahe to be returned.
[Photo by Ron Knight/Flickr]