Illegal trapping in Westport Domain

Over the weekend a Western weka was caught in a gin trap that was set in the Westport Domain.

A couple walking nearby found the juvenile weka with its leg caught in the trap. They were able to remove the weka from the gin trap and called the Buller District Council Senior Animal Control Officer, Tracy Judd. Unfortunately, the weka’s leg was so badly broken that it had to be euthanized.

The gin trap was nailed inside the fence line along the Roebuck Street side of the Domain. “These traps cause horrific injuries and are inhumane. This could have easily been a child’s hand, a dog or cats leg” comments Senior Animal Control Officer, Tracy Judd.

Buller District Council’s Bylaw clearly states “No person shall set or use any form of animal trapping or snaring device in a public place or reserve without written approval from Council.” No written permission has been given for this activity.

If anyone has any information regarding the setting of these traps in the Domain they can contact Tracy Judd in confidence.

Bob Dickson, Department of Conservation, Northern West Coast Services Manager said that “Under the Animal Welfare (Leg-hold Traps) Order 2007, no leg-hold traps can be used within 150 metres of a dwelling without the express permission of the occupier, or in any area where there is a probable risk of catching a pet animal. Leg hold traps are a risk to our native ground dwelling birds, especially to the Western weka which are a threatened species”.

Animal Control officers, along with the Department of Conservation, will be monitoring the Westport Domain on a regular basis. Any traps found will be destroyed after the possibility of fingerprinting has been eliminated.