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Tourists May Get Jail For Shooting Protected Species

Norwegian tourists facing six years in prison at home over hunting in New Zealand

Apr 01, 2010

The tourists who shot and killed some of the country's endangered native pigeons are facing a tougher punishment at home than they would receive in New Zealand.

The five members of the Norwegian hunting party have all been identified after posting a video diary of their hunting trip. Their actions are now being investigated in New Zealand and Norway.

Reuben Williams from the Department of Conservation (DOC) says the hunters' behaviour is unacceptable.

"It involved firearms, it involved shooting and the taking of some absolutely protected species and we're appalled at that sort of behaviour," he says.

The men who left New Zealand in January were identified on Monday. The Norwegian authorities are now working with DOC.

"We'll take advice from the Norwegian authorities (as) to what they can do," says Williams.

Norway's biggest newspaper, Aftenposten, reports the hunters could be sentenced to six years in prison under their country's law.

If convicted in New Zealand they would face a year in prison or a $100,000 fine.

DOC says that is insufficient and the Conservation Minister agrees.

"If visitors come into our home and ruin it, damage it, steal from it, then I think there should be restrictions on letting them back in," says Kate Wilkinson.

However, not everyone thinks the tourists are completely to blame.

Heli hunting operator Brian McBride says people "have got to remember (the Norwegians) would've spent a lot of money on their tour".

"Apart from shooting the pigeons they didn't do anything wrong. Personally I don't have a great issue with it, they just need to be educated," McBride says.

Norwegian tourists facing six years in prison at home over hunting in New Zealand
Kereru - New Zealand's native pigeon / Image via


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