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Protests over tourists shooting kereru

Published: 9:14PM Friday March 26, 2010 Source: NZPA

  •  (Source: ONE News)
    Source: ONE News

A YouTube video which shows young European men shooting a protected native pigeon has produced a storm of scathing comments - mostly directed at the hunters, who are thought to be a group of Norwegian backpackers.

The online clip shows a man firing at a kereru, the bird falling from a tree and a tourist holding two dead, bloody birds.

Most of the scathing comments - some of them in Swedish - call for the travellers to be caught and prosecuted.

A Department of Conservation spokesman, Reuben Williams, says the kereru is an absolutely protected species under the Wildlife Act.

The maximum penalty for killing such protected wildlife is a $100,000 fine and up to a year in jail, and DOC is investigating, he says.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says she is "absolutely outraged" by the online video which was posted on YouTube three days ago.

The clip also shows the tourists shooting a paradise shelduck with a rifle - the birds can only legally be hunted with licence and a shotgun during the shooting season starting in May. Illegal hunting can bring a fine of up to $5000.

It also has footage of a helicopter carrying the men on a West Coast hunting trip, where they shot tahr.

On the east coast of the South Island they shot wallabies and rabbits.