Conservation dogs at work
Image: Joe Kelly, Kiwibank | ©


DOC and Kiwibank are working together to unleash the potential of our incredible Conservation Dogs, they help find protected species and unwanted pests.


Signed in September 2016, the six-year renewable partnership will enable the Conservation Dogs Programme to undertake more surveillance, quarantine and advocacy work. The partnership also supports the Conservation Dogs Schools Programme.

DOC Kiwibank logo.


    Conservation Dogs Partnership

    In its first year, the partnership funded a pilot to help boost and consolidate the Conservation Dogs Programme and place it on a more strategic footing.

    Now in its fourth year, the partnership funds four full-time pest detection dog handler teams and a Senior Species Detection Dog Advisor. This increase in capacity provides enhanced levels of quarantine, surveillance and incursion response, alongside increased training and assessment capability for new handlers.

    “We believe removing introduced predators such as rats, stoats and possums is one of New Zealand’s biggest conservation challenges, so it makes sense for us all to work together, using Kiwibank’s nationwide reach and influence,” says Kiwibank CEO Steve Jurkovich.

    Funding is also helping to strengthen an advocacy programme to promote greater awareness and protection of our pest-free islands and the work of the Conservation Dog Handler Teams.

    Highly trained conservation dogs and handlers play a major role in the conservation of species such as kiwi, whio, takahē and kākāpō. The partnership with Kiwibank will allow us to be more innovative in the use of dogs for conservation and provide world-class island biosecurity. 

    DOC’s Director General Lou Sanson says, “Working together with Kiwibank helps us to unleash the potential of these incredible dogs and means we can do more conservation and quarantine work on our pest free islands and in mainland sanctuaries.” 

    Kiwibank website

    It’s all about protecting what’s all of ours to enjoy.

    Conservation Dogs Programme

    New Zealand was the first country to use dogs to benefit conservation as far back as the 1890s. Conservation dogs are now used all over New Zealand.

    DOC’s Conservation Dogs Programme uses highly trained dogs and professional handlers for conservation work with protected species. There are over 69 conservation dogs in New Zealand – 42 find protected species, 27 find pests.

    Media releases related to this partnership

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