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How to help

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Kererū are common patients at the hospital as they often fly into windows. Image: Wildlife Hospital Dunedin.

Always remember if you find sick or injured native wildlife phone DOC on 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

We can all help save our native species. You could get involved in local activities such as:

  • beach or awa clean up days to remove rubbish
  • monitoring projects to find out more about the species that live in your backyard
  • restoration planting
  • predator trapping
  • fundraising to help groups who are working to save native species
  • reporting pest plants, animals and diseases – find out more here.

Many of the species that end up at the Wildlife Hospital have similar injuries. These injuries are often caused by:

  • dog or cat attacks
  • colliding with vehicles
  • window strikes

It's important to keep your distance from wildlife such as sea lions and penguins. Image: DCC.

To reduce injuries to our native animals you can:

  • Make sure your dog is on a leash when you’re at the beach. Dogs and penguins don't mix. Please don't let your dog run into the dunes where you can't see it, especially in the summer when penguins are moulting.
  • Make your bird feeder safe from cats. Have a look to make sure there aren't any hiding places for cats near the feeder; move it to a more open space if you can. This gives birds space to see and time to fly away if a predator is approaching.
  • Put a bell collar on your cat and keep it indoors at night.
  • If a bird flies into your window and is laying on the ground, keep a close eye on it. It will need about 15-20 minutes to recover from the shock if it hasn’t broken anything. Cats, dogs and other predators will take advantage of this time. Keep the bird safe during this time. If it doesn't take off after 20 minutes, please ring the DOC hotline number 0800 362 468.
  • You can use window alert decals to stop window strikes. These stickers reflect UV light which we can’t see but birds can.
  • If you find a sick or injured animal - Ring DOC (0800 DOC HOT); get your parent to take a photo of it to send to DOC if needed, or if you're not sure if it's native. DOC will let you know what to do.

If you come across wildlife on a beach keep your dog on a leash. Image: DOC.

Citizen Science

Scientists need help to gather and analyse information. There are many citizen science projects throughout Aotearoa that you can get involved in. Check out these links from DOC about citizen science projects.

You could also help by sharing information about rare or unusual plants or animals. If you come across a native animal in an area where it is not usually found, you could take a photo and share it with local conservation groups, or on iNaturalist NZ.

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Find out more from DOC about what to do if you find a dead bird, beached whale, or other native animals that might need help >

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