The wounded kārearea was taken to a vet where it unfortunately died. A necropsy by Massey University’s Wildbase revealed a small injury on the chest to be a bullet wound, likely from a .22 calibre firearm.
Kārearea are fully protected by law, with penalties of up to two years of imprisonment and a $100,000 fine for harming one.
“It’s despicable that someone would deliberately shoot such a spectacular and rare bird,” says DOC East Coast Operations Manager John Lucas.
“We are really keen to find out who did this. We have been carrying out our own investigations, but any information the public can share with us would be a huge help.
“It is totally unacceptable for anyone to shoot a kārearea and if DOC can find out who has done this we will have no hesitation in prosecuting them.”
Kārearea are endemic to New Zealand and are one of the country’s most spectacular birds. They can fly at speeds up to 100 km/hr and are built with agility to manoeuvre and crash through dense bush, making them an efficient hunter.
The population is under threat, with less than 4,000 pairs estimated to be left in the wild, making them rarer than kiwi.
Sanctuaries are supplementing populations in several areas around New Zealand to ensure kārearea do not disappear from the wild.
The bird’s body will be returned to Gisborne where the feathers will be available for cultural purposes.
DOC appreciates any help from the public to discourage this behaviour and are grateful to the person who reported this particular incident.
To report information or any injured native wildlife, ring 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).