Fruit pigeons and bats are a popular delicacy for Niueans.
Known in Niuean as the Peka (bat) and Lupe ( fruit pigeon) most prefer it over chicken as it is tastier and Niueans also enjoy the sport of hunting.
It is also considered a rite of passage for young Niueans by many families, something that the children look forward to accompanying their elders.
Several years ago, a moratorium banning the shooting of the peka and lupe was put in place by former Minister of Social Services Hon. Billy Talagi following advice by the environment department on the status of these wildlife species.
There are now calls for the government to reconsider the ban of the shooting season.
A motion was submitted to the Fono Ekepule by the member for Lakepa John Tiakia for the government to give consideration to reopening the shooting season for the peka and the lupe was supported at yesterday’s meeting.
According to Tiakia there is growing evidence that the numbers of lupe and peka have increased.
The motion seconded by the member from Vaiea Talaititama Talaiti was supported by the majority of the members.
The Premier Hon. Dalton Tagelagi, the Minister for Natural Resources Hon. Mona Aiunuu and former Minister of Infrastructure Hon. Pokotoa Sipeli did not support the motion.
Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Ainuu said that the former Government in 2018 reinforced the decision to maintain the ban on the shooting. She said that her Ministry is committed to the conservation of the lupe and peka.
According to Police, more than 1,666 boxes of ammunition are still in storage at the police station since the ban came into effect.
The decision to reopen the season rests with Cabinet.