A kererū was shot twice and found days later – still alive – on the side of Goodwin Avenue, Oneroa, by a resident.
But it was so unwell it had to be euthanised, after which air rifle pellets were found in its body.
“It is believed that this kererū was shot purposely by an inexperienced gun handler using our native wildlife as target practice,” says wildlife rehabilitator and general manager of Native Bird Rescue Karen Saunders.
Kererū are a common and much-loved sight around Waiheke Island, Karen says.
“We are lucky to have so many around, especially in our urban areas. They are naive and trusting birds, with their drunken ‘falling out of trees’ antics in the late summer turning them into two-bird comedy shows.”
Karen says they are the most common bird of the 35-plus species Native Bird Rescue admits. “We rescue or receive between 60 to 80 kererū each year. Kererū are mostly admitted due to impact injuries, of which the majority are from collisions with glass, windows and balustrades, with vehicle collisions coming in second.”
Whati, as the kererū was named, was admitted on Thursday 19 July with a fractured wing and it was initially suspected the injury was due to a vehicle collision as he/she was found on the side of the road. Karen says Whati was a young kererū in its first year of life.