Archives For Dog

By Trudi Ngawhare, Partnerships Ranger, Gisborne

Tiki the conservation dog.

Tiki the conservation dog

Recently, we lost a “totara” for conservation.

Tiki the conservation dog passed away at the prime age of 11 (human) years.

Tiki was based at Motu, in the Gisborne region, with Ranger Joe Waikari and whānau.

He was a small Border Terrier cross who specialised in detecting mustelids (weasels, stoats and ferrets).

Ranger Joe Waikari describes Tiki as an “energizer battery, he never went flat”.

More travelled than most humans, Tiki’s work would take him (and Joe) all over the country: island work; in the back country… anywhere where extensive pest control programmes were in place, to ensure mustelid populations were gone from the area.

Tiki the conservation dog on a DOC boat.

Tiki heading to Mokoia Island, Rotorua

Tiki, was part of the Conservation Dog Programme. These detection dogs are trained to locate specific target species—either protected or predator. This helps the handler to capture and monitor protected species, or eradicate the pest species through trapping, poisoning or shooting.

Joe says the highlight in working with Tiki has been “doing our part in protecting our endangered species”.

Tiki was also a public relations specialist, winning over the crowds with his unassuming charm. He attended A&P shows and school talks, and he was a great advocate for conservation efforts with many children declaring that they wanted to go home to teach their dogs to be like Tiki.

Joe and Tiki doing training.

Joe and Tiki entertaining a crowd

Also a valued whānau member, Tiki was the champion in the small dogs category at the Matawai School Pet Day a couple of years running.

Tiki is a tribute to all conservation dogs that quietly go about their work (for cuddles and food), making huge gains for conservation.

He whakamaumahara ki a ‘Tiki’, he kuri o te papa atawhai. Moe mai e hoa, moe mai. A tribute to Tiki, the conservation dog. Rest easy friend, rest easy.

Watch this video tribute to Tiki but be careful of ‘dust getting in your eyes’:

By Cherry Beaver, Trustee, Puketi Forest Trust

The Department of Conservation recently organised a kiwi aversion training day at Puketi Forest in the Bay of Islands. The training course was well supported with over 60 dogs and their owners attending ― luckily for the trainers not all at once!

A dog in front of the sign at kiwi aversion training. Photo: Cherry Beaver.

Over 60 dogs attended kiwi aversion training at Puketi Forest, including Nichol

The training days are a really important lesson for any dog that is likely to encounter a kiwi. It is an important tool in teaching dogs that kiwi are something they should stay away from.

As part of the training three model kiwis are placed along a small bush track. The dog wears a collar and receives a mild electric shock when they pass and sniff the kiwi. Generally they only need one shock and they learn to avoid the next bird.

A dog in the forest learning to avoid kiwi. Photo: Cherry Beaver.

Nichol in the bush during his kiwi aversion training

I took my dog Nichol, and I was amazed at how fast the process worked and how the dogs learn to avoid the kiwi so quickly.

The training is not foolproof and it is recommended that dogs complete the training each year, but many kiwi could be saved if all dogs went through this simple and effective training.

A North Island brown kiwi. Photo: Eric Carlson.

North Island brown kiwi


Related links:

This week’s photo was shared on Facebook by DOC West Coast. It shows Rein the kiwi dog checking in on Norman and Stealth, two rare rowi kiwi, on Blumine Island/Oruawairua. After years of breeding problems Norman and Stealth have finally become parents to a new kiwi chick.

Rowi breeding success on Blumine Island – we’re stoked about it!

rowi-rare-breeding

The photo was taken by Iain Graham, an Operation Nest Egg Ranger in DOC’s Franz Josef – Waiau Area Office.

To hear the romantic story of Norman and Stealth listen to this report on Radio New Zealand.


Send us your photos

If you have a great, conservation related photo you want to share with the world (or at least the readers of this blog) send it through to us at socialmedia@doc.govt.nz.