[26 October/New Zealand Herald]

A group of anti-1080 protesters has illegally released a herd of sika deer into North Taranaki forests. The Department of Conservation (DOC) strongly condemned their actions. DOC rushed into the area after an anonymous tip-off and had since worked hard to remove the deer, destroying five so far. DOC’s Director-General Lou Sanson referred to the illegal release as selfish and short-sighted. The Taranaki region was home to multiple conservation operation efforts, including the reintroduction of the Kokako bird. A range of pest control methods had been introduced to achieve this, including the removal of feral deer, which provide an ongoing threat to native ecosystems. The incident has been reported and is under police investigation.