Hauraki Gulf from Rangitoto Island. Photo / Mike Locke / CC

DOC Ramps Up Patrols to Enforce Dog Bans on Pest-Free Hauraki Gulf Islands

Department of Conservation (DOC) officials are stepping up patrols in response to an increase in reports of dogs on the pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The action aims to enforce regulations designed to protect the unique environments of the islands.

Hauraki Gulf from Rangitoto Island. Photo / Mike Locke / CC

Department of Conservation (DOC) officials are stepping up patrols in response to an increase in reports of dogs on the pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The action aims to enforce regulations designed to protect the unique environments of the islands.

A recent incident highlighted the issue when a 1News camera crew documented a dog owner attempting to transport their pet to Te Motu-a-Ihenga / Motuihe Island in a dinghy. The island has been recognized as pest-free since 2005 and is a popular destination for visitors from Auckland.

DOC ranger Emma Dunning emphasized the risk dogs pose to the islands’ wildlife, stating, “Even the best-behaved and trained dogs still pose a risk to our wildlife.” She noted that the islands are home to various species, including shore-nesting birds and invertebrates like skinks and geckos.

The presence of dogs on these islands has been prohibited for years as part of conservation efforts. Despite this, DOC investigations officer Neal Phillips reported an increase in incidents involving dogs, with evidence such as footprints found in the sand. “Particularly early in the morning or at dusk, there were footprints sighted on sand,” Phillips said.

Advertisement

Violators face fines of up to $800, and repeat offenders may be subject to prosecution. “People obviously know the rules but they try and avoid dealing with us when we are here and so they sneak around,” Phillips added, indicating that some individuals knowingly break the rules.

Conservation initiatives have enabled the successful reintroduction of native species like the kiwi and saddleback to the islands. DOC rangers continue to monitor for threats such as rats and stoats to maintain the islands’ pest-free status.

Advertisement
Pa Beach Cafe, 82 Blackwell Drive, Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Aotea)

The increased patrols, DOC officials claim, underscore the importance of adhering to the regulations in place to protect the ecosystems of the Hauraki Gulf islands.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *