Among the many New Zealand conservation tragedies of 2015, there is one that stands out for me – the shooting of four takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri; critically endangered) by members of the local Deerstalkers Association undertaking an authorized cull of pūkeko (Porphyrio porphyrio) on Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf. It has been the source of much outrage and disgust, particularly in its being wholly avoidable. It seems impossible that takahē could have been in the line of fire, given that the hunters were instructed to shoot only pūkeko in flight… and takahē cannot fly…
While we wait to see if there will be any consequences for the buffoons who can’t follow instructions, I have contemplated this tragedy, seeking an explanation that is more fathomable. An explanation that stands to reason when one considers that the hunters were fully informed of takahē presence on the island and supposedly only shooting birds on the wing.
Re-posted from https://aucklandecology.com/2016/01/14/takahe-folly/