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Rotting sheep dumped by Ruamāhanga River

After reports of 25 sheep carcasses being dumped in the Ruamāhanga River at Double Bridges, Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC] is advising the public to avoid potentially contaminated parts of the river for at least 48 hours.

It is alleged that the sheep were left in the river on or around Waitangi Day, but GWRC director of strategy, policy, and regulation Fathima Iftikar said they were not made aware of the dumping at the time.

A duty officer visited the area after the Times-Age contacted GWRC, and Iftikar confirmed they would be removing the remaining “debris”.

“Anyone can call our 24-hour hotline to report environmental hazards that may damage our land, water, air, or coast,” she said.

“The sooner we’re notified and able to remove an animal carcass, the better.”

Iftikar said the longer a carcass is left to decay in a waterway, the more chance it has to negatively impact the surrounding ecosystem.

“Bacteria and other bugs can cause serious harm to people,” she said.

“The constant flow of the river helps lower the risk of contamination, compared to ponds or rain tanks.”

A police spokesperson said they had not been contacted about the dumped carcasses and had not received any reports of a large number of sheep missing from any farmers in Wairarapa.

To report an environmental hazard, call 0800 496 734.

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