Advocate condemns the use of illegal traps on hawks

Long Lunch 14/06/2018
Harrier hawk. Photo: Facebook.

Animal advocates are calling out the speculated inhumane trapping of hawks on private property.

In a Facebook post, not-for-profit Oxford Bird Rescue alleged that the use of illegal gin traps on kāhu (or, the Australasian harrier hawk) is “more widespread than we ever imagined” in Mid Canterbury. 

The sale and use of leg-hold traps, often called gin traps, are restricted in New Zealand under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The traps were originally restricted because they inhumanely crunch down on the legs of its target.

Oxford Bird Rescue representative Scott Bowden told RadioLIVE that despite this, there are still a lot of such traps being used. 

Mr Bowden described one incident where a hawk was found “basically walking around on its stumps” by the time a specialist got to the trap.

“Pretty horrific stuff, really,” he told RadioLIVE.

While Mr Bowden admits he doesn’t mean to generalise any communities, he guesses that the people doing this are primarily those in poultry and sheep farming.

“Newborn lambs can be an easy target for [the hawks],” he told RadioLIVE.

However, he emphasised that only a small number of people are using the illegal traps.

Mr Bowden urges anyone frustrated with problem hawks to contact a rescue facility before taking action on their own

“A very small percentage of hawks will be targeting chickens, lambs, that sort of thing. And quite often you can remove that one bird and the problem stops,” he said. 

He explained that his organisation successfully relocated a hawk to a new habitat with fewer people and more natural food sources.

“We’re keen to help.”

Listen to the full interview with Scott Bowden above. 

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.