Pig hunting dogs were taught to leave Taranaki's kiwi population alone during a special obedience school last weekend.
The Tainui Pig Hunting Club hosted a Conservation Department of "kiwi aversion" training session on Mangatoro Rd, just north of Mt Messenger.
The training involved frozen kiwi and a little shock treatment, as the dogs were fitted with a special electric collar.
"If they show an interest in a kiwi they got an electric shock," club president Warren Petersen said.
About 55 dogs and 25 owners went through the training.
Mr Petersen said it had been a successful day with none of the dogs needing a second lesson.
"Pig hunters have a bit of a reputation of not caring about the environment but a lot of us care about the environment more than people realise, we spend half of our lives in the bush," he said.
He'd seen a kiwi mauled by a pig dog during his 40 years hunting and the training was the club's way of being pro-active so it didn't happen again.
"When it [the dog] came back with a kiwi, it wasn't pretty," he said. "Anything that we can do to save a kiwi is good."
Mr Petersen was pleased with how the day went.
"It was a good day, we had a lot of people participating."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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