Conservation Week in New Zealand is run by the Department of Conservation (DOC) each year to encourage people to get involved in nature and help to take care of it. It’s a nationwide celebration of kiwis pitching in to help and an important week for New Zealand zoos and aquariums to showcase the extensive work they do to conserve their unique native species.
Natureland Wildlife Trust is highlighting conservation week with their visitors by showcasing their three primary conservation projects: Kea, South Island Kaka, and Banded Rail. They’ve spent two years helping DOC monitor local kea populations and working with local forestry companies to protect bachelor groups of adolescents. The keepers will be sharing their experiences all week in the walk-through-kea aviary, with a flock of four female kea joining in on the discussions. This year Natureland will also prepare to boost chick survival of South Island Kaka by collecting eggs, incubating and then releasing the chicks back to the wild once they’re less vulnerable.
Finally, their team will be sharing with kids how they identify and target specific predators that are a threat to banded rails. They’ll be shown how to identify banded rail and how they can help protect its habitat.
To help spread the message, Natureland is hosting a consortium of teachers from regional schools to share their conservation work during advocacy week, so they can bring our stories into their classrooms, and encourage their students to get involved in their own local conservation projects.
Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre will also have some special events on for Conservation Week. They have jumped on board a national initiative with “Kiwi Guardian activities” in which the community follow a map to find kiwi guardian clues all over the zoo and win a special badge. The Toyota Kiwi Guardian program will run activities all over New Zealand with the chance toachieve badges at each one.
Pukaha have also partnered with Squawk Squad, a social enterprise that aims to connect and engage the country in the protection and growth of native bird life. It connects people with sanctuaries via a web-app that gives them the ability to collectively fund sensor-connected traps in aid of sanctuary projects. The funders can see where their trap is deployed in the sanctuary and are notified in real-time when their trap activates. This indicates the positive impact that their investment is having on native birdlife.
Hamilton Zoo will host a free event at Waiwhareke National Heritage Park for school students with stations featuring the Zoo, Pirongia Restoration Trust, Enviroschools, Plant and Food, DOC and others. It will give students the opportunity to venture into the bush and engage with these NZ organisations about ways to protect the environment while investigating plants, invertebrates, birds and how everything is connected.
Wellington Zoo have some fabulous activities planned to celebrate Conservation Week. They want to share the work they do and offer ways their visitors can help save the precious NZ native
wildlife. They will be holding a Conservation Weekend for these activities and offer half-price entry for kids over that weekend.
The theme is “Threatened Species” and will include activities like create Kea enrichment, build a Gecko friendly garden, celebrate Bee Awareness month with candle making and be a Vet for the day. The activities will be at The Nest Te Kōhanga, Penguin Point, and the Kea Aviary.