Getting in behind our Conservation Dogs

Department of Conservation —  22/09/2016

Kiwibank shares DOC’s mission to be actively involved in protecting what is ‘ours’ for future generations. This is why they have joined forces with us to support the Conservation Dogs programme.

Well trained dog-handler teams have been active in conservation for more than 40 years in New Zealand. In fact, we were the first country to use dogs to benefit conservation as far back as the 1890s.

The work of our conservation dogs includes helping monitor kiwi and pāteke in Northland, protecting the Hauraki Gulf islands from introduced pests and helping monitor kiwi, whio and kea on the West Coast – plus much more!

Our dog-handler teams are trained to sniff out either protected species (mainly birds) so they can be banded, monitored and/or moved to another place; or trained to detect signs of pest species that would destroy our native wildlife in pest-free areas, such as rodents, stoats and Argentine ants.

Conservation dogs Pai and Piri.

Conservation dogs Pai and Piri

Kiwibank is funding two full-time dogs to join the team. With their handlers, they’ll form New Zealand’s first specialist conservation dog unit.

In addition to supporting the Conservation Dogs programme, Kiwibank is working with Predator Free New Zealand Trust, supporting communities to take on the predator free challenge and helping everyday New Zealanders take action in their own backyard!

We’re excited about this new partnership, what it means for the Conservation Dogs programme, and its potential to create a predator free country.

3 responses to Getting in behind our Conservation Dogs


    Awesome work DOC, eradicating pests so our native wildlife can flourish. Dogs are happiest when they have an important job to do, making them perfect for this role. I bet Conservation Dogs are some of the most content dogs you’d ever meet. Keep up the fantastic work!


    The conservation dogs do an awesome job – as do their handlers of course.

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