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Keeping dogs away from kiwis

NZ Landcare Trust have teamed up with Eastern Whio Link and River of Man Adventures to bring a series of free kiwi aversion training events to the Gisborne region.

Following on-farm kiwi surveys, the organisations found a small, fragmented kiwi population throughout the district, said Sam Gibson, NZ Landcare Trust's East Coast catchments co-ordinator and Eastern Whio Link founder.

“With weka spreading rapidly and whio being protected in the streams, we thought it timely to support our farmers, hunters and other dog owners with the events they need to protect our remnant biodiversity.”

The three events will be in Gisborne, Matawai and Uawa and will be followed up with events in Te Araroa and Ruatoria in the coming months.

The Gisborne training sessions are on July 3 and 4, the Uawa event is on July 10 and the Matawai sessions are on July 30 and 31.

The training events are free as cost should be no barrier to getting the necessary training for dogs that go bush, the organisers said.

“To get a permit to hunt on Department of Conservation estates you have to have your dogs aversion trained. It is a great thing for hunters or anyone who takes dogs into the bush,” Mr Gibson said.

“There are a lot of hunters in the region who want their dogs aversion trained — they want to play by the rules.”

Trainer Willy Marsh has been training dogs for many years and is, according to Mr Gibson, one of the best dog trainers in the country.

“He has a good alignment with the people who go to these classes. He has a soft approach with the dogs.

“We want all dogs to be kiwi aversion trained,” Mr Gibson said.

Bookings are essential and all dogs are welcome. Contact Mr Gibson on 027 775 0016 or email kiwitrained@gmail.com to register.

Attendees will be sent the location and a time slot to ensure there is not an influx of dogs.

PROTECTING NATIVE SPECIES: Sam Gibson (pictured with his kiwi aversion trained-dog Zeus) is one of the organisers of several kiwi aversion training sessions for owners and their dogs in the region. Picture supplied