Security has been beefed up at caves where moa bones are at risk of being pillaged, as the government moves to make it illegal to trade remains of the extinct bird.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said more cameras with remote alarm sensors had been installed to protect archaeological sites from looters trying to make a quick buck.
This is ahead of the government’s plans to consult the public about possible regulation changes to stop the trade of moa bones.
“People are trifling with the law if they think they can get away with taking moa bones from sites,” she said.
“We would encourage people to recognise that moa full skeletons in museums and other scientific institutions are really valuable. Selling bits of skeletons, bones, on TradeMe and elsewhere reduces the availability for scientific institutions to have these whole skeletons.”
Not a single kiwi feather can be traded and yet the remains of one of the world’s rarest extinct bird species continue to be bought and sold on the open market.
Just this week, a moa skull and foot bones of undisclosed provenance sold on TradeMe for almost $3000.
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