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How to be a Wildlife Volunteer

New Zealand is home to a large variety of species, from the famous Kiwi bird, to the lesser known long tailed bat. Many of these creatures are sadly on the endangered species lists, however the Department of Conservation (DoC) works tirelessly to ensure their survival. The work they’ve already carried out has boosted numbers of a great many species and their projects are ever on going. They also look after the great outdoors in general, maintaining paths, planting trees, weeding etc. They’re crying out for volunteers, both local and foreign to aid them with their tasks. The good news is that even on a visitor visa you can lend a helping hand.

There are projects all over the country and you are able to pick from a wide range. Some are seasonal, with others lasting year round. These range from animal monitoring and hut hosting to pest trapping and tree planting, among many others. Most projects can be applied for online by visiting the DoC website and simply filling in a short form.

They don’t ask for any particular skills or experience, as most volunteers learn on the job, however you are encouraged to write down any skills you have that may be useful. As most of the activities are outdoors, they require a certain level of physical work. You’ll need to be fairly physically fit in order to complete a lot of the tasks and this should be taken into consideration when applying.

Activities range in length from a day to a week or longer and are generally free to complete, though a small food or transport contribution may be asked for. Some of the more popular activities become full fairly quickly, so it’s worth applying in advance where possible.

Accommodation is normally taken care of by the volunteer, though depending on the project something may be arranged. A sleeping bag is normally adequate. Full details will be listed on the individual project pages, advising what you will need to bring and where to meet.


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