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Reward offered for flying fugitive

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/11/2016

Bay of Plenty residents catching sight of a feathery flash of red flying past them may be in for a handy $1000 reward for their keen vision.

That is because the Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation and local authorities are undertaking a bird-hunt for an introduced pest from Asia, called the red-vented bulbul.

The Ministry has called for public tip-offs to locate the bird, which they hope to eradicate because it is spreading through Australia and the Pacific and is renowned for damaging fruit and vegetable crops.

"I can't stress enough how much of a pest these birds are and how significant the threat they pose to horticulture" MPI response manager Brad Chandler said.

"They may appear cute or novel, but they're anything but."

"We're taking this seriously and there's a $1000 reward on offer for information that leads directly to a successful removal by a member of our response team."

Mr Chandler said the red-vented bulbuls were medium-sized birds, about the size of a starling, with a generally dark brown or grey colouring apart from a distinctive crimson-red patch of feathers beneath their tail.

"This red patch is the key identification feature," he said.

"If you think you've seen a red-vented bulbul, please report the sighting to 0800 809 966 - MPI's 24/7 Exotic Pest and Disease hotline."

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