DOC says dogs have been poisoned after eating meat laced with rat poison laid along tracks leading to a Waikato hut and the department is calling for help to find the culprit.
DOC Maniapoto acting operations manager Graham Kimber said the poisoned baits were found on three tracks – Leitch’s Track, Waikawau Track and Mangatoa Track – leading to Leitch’s Hut in Whareorino Conservation Area, south of Kawhia.
Kimber said the baits were discovered by a member of the public in August, An alert was placed on the department’s website and DOC stopped issuing permits for people to take dogs into the park. Signs have also been placed at the track entrances.
“We believe it’s rat bait of the kind found in supermarkets or stores,” Kimber said. “The bait has been placed inside portions of meat distributed through the forest.
“We do not know who is responsible or why they’ve done it.”
He said some dogs had been harmed after eating the poison, but the exact number was unknown.
Kimber said rangers had walked the tracks searching for the baits, but so far they’d only recovered one poisoned bait. Other baits had been removed by contractors and hunters.
DOC has reported the incident to the police.
“We’ve had a camera installed at a track entrance to monitor activity, and we’re encouraging visitors to the forest to report any suspicious activity.”