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 three-year renewable partnership will enable the Conservation Dogs Programme to undertake more surveillance, quarantine and advocacy work. 

DOC Kiwibank logo.


Conservation Dogs Partnership

In the first year, this partnership will help fund a pilot to boost and consolidate the conservation dogs programme. By funding two full time positions for six months, a pest detection dog handler and a species detection dog certifier, it will allow us to increase quarantine patrols and surveillance. It will also build an advocacy programme to promote greater awareness and protection of our pest-free islands and conservation dog work.   

“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 Paul Brock.

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 will help 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.” 

In addition to 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.

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 80 conservation dogs in New Zealand – 45 find protected species, 35 find pests. The two full time conservation dog handlers will join DOC’s team of 67 part-time handlers.

More about the Conservation Dogs Programme

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