Here we have come up with Our Top Ten Tips on how you can help look after and protect New Zealand wildlife!
1. Clean your shoes and equipment
So many pests and diseases can be carried on your shoes. One of the huge problems at the movement is the Kauri Dieback disease. It is a fungus-like disease that is killing our Kauri trees, spreading through soil from being transferred by shoes, equipment and car tires.
By making sure that you wash (with soap and water) anything that has come in contact with the ground before and after bush walks you can help prevent the spread of this disease as well as others like it.
2. Check your bags
When travelling to pest-free islands and areas around New Zealand it is important that you double-check that your bag doesn’t have any rodents, insects or other pests inside. As once you get to the island/area they may then escape and could lead to the species being protected in danger.
It will only take seconds to check your bags but will take much longer to remove pests from the islands.
3. Listen to the signs
When in any part of New Zealand, but especially around parks, rivers and beaches, is important that you listen and follow DOC signs. These signs are put up for your safety, your dogs safely but most importantly the wildfires safety.
Some of the things signs make ask of you or warn you of include:
Keeping your dog on a lead
Don’t touch any plants
Stay out of an area
Watch out for nests
No open fires
Stay out of the water
1. Don’t litter
No matter where you are you shouldn't litter but this is even more important when in and around New Zealand wildlife. So much litter will not compose and will stay there for thousands of years. This litter can also be a choking hazard or poisonous to any animals that come across it. It may also be toxic to the soil. So don’t litter, there are plenty of bins found around our parks and if there isn’t then take your rubbish with you.
5. Don’t feed any animals
Feeding the animals can be extremely harmful to them as well as potentially fatal especially if they are being fed food that isn't suitable for their diet, it is not with the risk of feeding them something you think they can handle when in reality they cant so please do not feed our native animals. This includes feeding bread to ducks at duck ponds, even though this can be a fun thing to do with kids it can be really bad for the ducks and can attract rodents to the ponds.
5. Give them space
These are wild animals that aren't used to human attention. By interacting with them beyond just looking at them can be dangerous to both them and us. We can cause them a great deal of stress and we can also accidentally trample nests or young. But depending on the species can be incredibly dangerous for us.
If you are lucky enough to see any wildlife up close please keep your dog on a lead and be quiet, especially around the nesting areas. If you come across and seals DOC recommends staying at least 20m (two bus lengths) away as can give a bad bite or can quickly panic and stampede.
7. Stay on the path
Staying on the path ensures that you don’t trample any plant life. Bush walks are beautiful but won’t stay that way if the surrounding plants are trampled down. It also ensures that any young or endangered plants are safe from our feet. Any paths will make sure to stay clear of nesting sites and so by going off them you can accidentally disrupt a nesting site.
As well as taking into account the wildlife's safety it is also for your safety to make sure you're safe from any sudden falls, holes or slips.
If you see someone doing something illegal towards wildlife it is important that you report it to DOC. if you see anyone:
Cutting down native plants
Illegally fishing ie in a protected marine area, without a license,
Actively disturbing marine mammals
Taking, injuring or killing any native animal species
Taking dogs into areas where no dogs are allowed or having a dog off lead at a lead only area
Stealing or harvesting native trees
Damaging historic sites
If you see anyone doing the following call the 24-hour DOC emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) but please ensure your safety first. You can also contact your local DOC office, you can find the list of the different offices Here
If you want to go that extra mile you can:
There are so many amazing organizations that are in need of funding and would greatly appreciate a donation of any amount. Bellow we’ve listed some places where you can contribute towards helping them.
If you can’t donate your money maybe you can donate your time. So many of these organizations that help look after our species are run by volunteers. Without volunteers, so many of these organisations wouldn’t even exist. You could do anything from planting to trapping to litter collection. Here we have two great places to start looking for volunteer opportunities, and any amount of time is better than nothing.