GRAPHIC: Kiwi found dead near Ohope

The kiwi has been found half way up Ohope Hill on Ohope Road. SunLive has chosen to blur this photo due to the graphic nature of it. People who wish to view more can see unblurred photos at the bottom of the story. Photos: Dylan Henderson.

Whakatane Kiwi Trust is urging motorists to be mindful of who they share the road with, after a kiwi was killed overnight near Ohope Road.

Images sent in to SunLive this morning, show the kiwi on a stretch of road half way up Ohope Hill, where it was found dead by a passing motorist.

It's understood a 30km/h speed limitation is in place where the incident has taken place.

“Unfortunately, it looks like this kiwi was hit by a car as it attempted to cross Ohope Road,” says Whakatane Kiwi Trust spokesperson Hannah Flatman in a statement.

She says it’s not surprising for the kiwi to have been found in the area, with Whakatane being recognised as ‘Kiwi Capital of the World’.

“The town’s reserves are home to more than 300 kiwi,” says Hannah.

“This is a number that continues to grow with the ongoing predator control that is undertaken by volunteers of the Whakatane Kiwi Trust.

“Whakatane is now known as the Kiwi Capital of the World because of the close proximity that kiwi live to our backyards in this area.

“Unfortunately, having kiwi living so close to an urban environment has its risks, and kiwi being hit by cars is one of those.

“We advise for people to drive with care at night on stretches of road where kiwi are likely to cross, such as Ohope Road, as kiwi don't see the road as a boundary.”

The message is backed by tireless work, run by the organisation, to educate the community about the risks and responsibilities of sharing the area with the endemic species.

“We do a lot of work to educate people about the kiwi population that we are lucky enough to have right in our backyards.”

One initiative includes the placement of ‘Kiwi Wandering’ road signs on Ohope Road and in other local areas such as Wainui where kiwi are known to live, says Hannah.

“We also organise many events throughout the year that enable us to tell the story of Whakatane kiwi and educate people on ways they can help to protect them such as kiwi aversion trainings for dogs, night walks and kiwi chick celebrations.”

Anyone who comes across a kiwi that has been killed or injured is urged to report it by contacting 0800 DOC HOT


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