March 12, 2020
Pig portage heightens kauri peril
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A Māori conservationist says Māori need to wake up to the risk of moving wild pigs around forests.
Kauri dieback disease has got into Puketi Forest in the far north, which was thought to be the last safe haven for the ancient tree.
Dean Baigent-Mercer from Forest & Bird says the suspected cause was believed to be mud on the heels of wild pigs taken there from other forests and released.
He says hapū hunters and hunting clubs are part of the problem and they also need to be part of the solution.
"There needs to be a strong internal hapū discussion about not taking pigs from one place and releasing them in another. That has been a key way the disease has spread and so there needs to be some internal cultural changes across all the hunting communities of the north so that practise doesn't continue because it is really accelerating the spread of kauri dieback," he says.
Dean Baigent-Mercer says the wild pig population in the region’s forests needs to drop by 70 per cent and stay there.
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