Many of you will have been saddened to hear about the kereru hunting incident at the hands of tourist hunters in the South Island, which was subsequently posted on YouTube.
Lots of understandably angry people have been calling and emailing DOC and the Minister about the incident and everyone should be assured that the authorities are following it up.
The Department of Conservation’s compliance team has launched a full investigation into the incident and we have identified the alleged offenders.
The hunters claim that they did not know kereru were protected, but I’m afraid ignorance is no defence under the Wildlife Act. The NZ Police have confirmed that the firearms used by the shooters were legally imported to New Zealand through the correct process and then taken by the hunters back to Norway.
DOC is currently putting together a detailed investigation report. Pending which a decision will be made on what course of action will be taken here in New Zealand.
The penalty for hunting or killing Absolutely Protected Species like kereru is a $100,000 fine and/or 1 year in prison. For a gamebird offence like hunting paradise shell duck the penalty is $5000 fine and $100 per head of game.
All information has been available to the Norwegian authorities who are also investigating the alleged offence, in line with their legislation.