Wapiti statue antler disappears again

20:52, Mar 09 2014

They are too big to fit in your handbag and get through customs.

And it's unlikely they are going to fetch you much on the black market.

But to the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation, they mean a lot.

One of the antlers of the wapiti statue on the outskirts of Te Anau has disappeared, leaving it looking rather uneven. Foundation spokesman Ron Peacock said the vandalism would leave the group having to foot a bill of several thousand dollars to get the antler fixed, something that's not always easy for a charity.

The statue is a fibreglass replica of a wapiti found in Fiordland in 1932 and was placed there to mark the centenary of the release of wapiti in Fiordland. Mr Peacock said the antler probably went missing as the result of "misadventure" but hoped someone would own up to causing the damage.

It's not the first time the group has faced the dilemma - several years ago the same thing happened, though the group managed to get the antler back and police caught the culprit.

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Sergeant Tod Hollebon, of Te Anau, was hoping for a similar outcome this time. He had collected items of interest around the statue that he hoped would lead him to the culprit, but the main thing was getting the antler back.

He urged people with information to contact police so the wapiti can be restored to its full antler complement.

 

The Southland Times