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Port Hills visitors asked to take special care during lambing season

17 July 2008

With lambing season upon us again people using the Port Hills reserves are asked to be considerate of the welfare of the livestock while using the area.

Port Hills area head ranger, Paul Devlin, says they are happy for people to make use of the reserves during lambing season, and the presence of the new born lambs can make the parks an extra special place to be. There are however a few things people can do to help make sure the livestock aren’t distressed at this delicate time. These include keeping dogs on a leash, keeping to the tracks and remembering to shut gates behind them. People are also asked to stay as far away as possible from pregnant ewes, and sheep with young lambs.

Mr Devlin says there are signs up in all of the affected Port Hills reserves warning people to take particular care, and with a contact number for the Christchurch City Council call centre if there is any problems.

If people come across a sheep or lamb which appears to be in distress they are asked not to interfere or attempt to take it to a vet, but instead to call the Council’s call centre on 941 8999. The call centre will then contact the lease holder. This time of year the leaseholders do keep a close eye on their livestock, and are often in the area.

"We also ask that people don’t try to match up apparently lost lambs with a ewe," says Mr Devlin. "Often the lamb and its mother can be quite a distance apart, and there is no problem, despite the cries of the lamb. The ewes do need a lot of sustenance at this time of year and should just be allowed to get on and eat and feed their lambs. Often people can inadvertently do more harm than good by trying to catch a lamb or chase it back to its mother, when they are almost always fine as they are."

The Rapaki Track in the Port Hills will be closed to vehicle access during the lambing season, but the track is still open to walkers and mountain bikers.

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