Cape Sanctuary has admitted that failings in the Department of Conservation’s internal practices, and confusion around those, led to the Sanctuary not complying with applicable legal requirements and obligations in the summer of 2016/17.

Both DOC and Cape Sanctuary came under scrutiny for Cape Sanctuary’s management of kiwi in the summer of 2016/17.

That summer 25 radio-tracked kiwi died at the private Cape Sanctuary. The Sanctuary has said the key factors behind the deaths were a particularly dry summer season together with the transition of key staff and a period of ‘inadequate monitoring’.

In a post on its website, the Sanctuary remained adamant that the ‘unauthorised handling of kiwi’ did not contribute to their deaths. 

However, Forest & Bird’s former Chief Conservation Advisor and F&B representative on the national Kiwi Recovery Group Kevin Hackwell told BayBuzz that in late 2016-early 2017, new Sanctuary staff were under pressure to prioritise making kiwi chicks available for tourists to have a kiwi experience.

“By mid-January the Sanctuary was concentrating its monitoring on just 8 of the 29 kiwi chicks that were on site. This small pool of kiwi chicks was being used to satisfy the daily demand for Lodge guest kiwi ‘health checks,” Hackwell said.

“This meant that Sanctuary was not carrying out the normal monitoring of all the chicks, or the necessary predator control. As a result, the Sanctuary was blinded to that year’s high numbers of predators, particularly cats and stoats.”

The response from the Sanctuary to a fifth Department of Conservation (DOC) review was posted online, following radio silence to BayBuzz and other media outlets’ queries. 

At this point, Cape Sanctuary continues to ignore requests for media interviews. BayBuzz has put further questions to Cape Sanctuary about its website statements.

And they have not commented directly on the charge that tourists were permitted to handle kiwi in the past, an unacceptable practice as far as conservation experts are concerned. Nor have they confirmed that such handling is not permitted at the Sanctuary presently.

Nor have they discussed the matter with the 2300 Followers on their Facebook page, the main communications channels between the Sanctuary and its interested community.

The full background on the complaints against DOC and Cape Sanctuary can be found in our initial BayBuzz article here: Cape Sanctuary’s kiwi care faulted.

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  1. Kia Ora

    You slant of fact & reality needs to be addressed….let’s go
    Mana whenua
    Hariata Bennett
    Cultural Advisor to Cape Sanctuary

    1. Hi Dawn,
      If we have a wrong ‘slant’, which I strongly doubt, it would be because appropriate folks at Cape Sanctuary refuse to talk to the media about what has transpired. If they want to set us straight, BayBuzz is easy to find.

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