Dogs off leash damaging local bird populations
Waikanae residents are notifying Kāpiti Coast District Council to report that dogs being let off leashes in restricted areas are damaging local bird populations.
Environmental Standards Manager Jacquie Muir says that the solution to this problem is for people to have control of their dogs at all times.
“Dogs must be kept on-leash in on-leash areas throughout Kāpiti, and, when in an off-leash area, they must still be under control. If you’re unsure of the restrictions of a given area, check Kāpiti Coast District Council’s website for mapped direction, or pick up a hardcopy map from any of the Council’s service centres within the district.”
About 60 bird species breed around the Waikanae Estuary, according to Kāpiti Coast District Council Programme Manager of Biodiversity Rob Cross, and when dogs are let off-leash, they instinctively chase chicks that are on the ground at this time of year.
“The Waikanae Estuary is of national significance, renowned for its bird populations that draw bird watchers from all over the world. One reason that it is a dog-on-leash area is to protect the birds.
“The estuary is protected because it’s a crucial place for birds to rest, feed, and breed. Chicks that live on the ground in the spring are easy prey for dogs off-leash. We are receiving reports from distressed Waikanae residents who have seen birds being chased and mauled by dogs in places where they are required to be on leash.”
For more information about dog on-leash and off-leash areas, see Dog exercise areas.