A Department of Conservation ranger did a double take when she noticed jacket-wearing cats being put in backpacks at Taranaki’s Egmont National Park.
The ranger came across visitors from Auckland who were planning to take their cats on their bum.
The incident happened in the North Egmont car park on July 16. The cats were being put into backpacks by their owners when the ranger approached. They potentially face a fine.
The owners told the ranger they were unaware that pets are not allowed in New Zealand’s national parks. Express written approval must be granted.
Pets are not allowed in the country’s national parks due to the threat they pose to native species.
Senior Ranger Dave Rogers said cats weren’t the first pets people have tried to bring into the park in recent months.
The list includes more cats, dogs, rabbits, and even a parrot.
“Bringing a pet into the park may seem like a harmless thing, but it has potentially deadly consequences for our native wildlife, especially if the pets become detached or get out of their owners’ control,” he said. declared.
“Our conservation land is vitally important to the survival of endangered species. Many of our native birds are flightless and have little or no defenses against predation. A dog can sniff out and kill a kiwi easily Uncontrolled dogs and cats can have a serious impact on our native wildlife.
“Even the most docile and controlled pet can instinctively kill.”
Owners found with pets in Egmont National Park can be instantly fined up to $800.
Serious or repeat offenders can face prosecution and a fine of up to $100,000, or up to one year in jail.
A pet may be seized and impounded if found in a national park or controlled area without a permit.