Chesterfield skinks at Auckland Zoo
Image: Auckland Zoo | ©

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Wildlife institutions impacted by New Zealand’s COVID-19 response will soon receive support from DOC, with the announcement of 28 successful applications for the Wildlife Institutions Relief Fund.

Date:  10 September 2020

DOC Director General Lou Sanson says that without the support, wildlife under the care of eco-sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife parks and wildlife rehabilitation facilities would be at risk.

“Wildlife institutions work hard to protect and restore populations of threatened native species. The critically threatened Chesterfield and cobble skinks would probably be extinct without wildlife institutions’ recovery programmes. Wildlife rescue facilities carry out invaluable work, especially for indigenous species such as kākāpō and hoiho/yellow-eyed penguin.

“These institutions also play a vital community education role, facilitating encounters with native species and wildlife experts, and providing a hub for community conservation activities.

Lou Sanson says the Zoo Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) and Sanctuaries of New Zealand Incorporated (SONZI) do a great job in keeping DOC informed about their members’ needs and the challenges they currently face.

“Working closely with the ZAA and SONZI, we know the impacts of the COVID-19 response have severely reduced wildlife institutions’ revenue from visitors and donations. The continued closure of New Zealand’s borders means revenue is likely to remain low for the 2020/21 financial year.”

The fund is worth $14.89 million. $9.6 million is being allocated to 28 successful applicants. The one-off funding will cover urgent and critical operational costs to maintain animal welfare, protect and retain specialist jobs and prevent the collapse of recovery programmes for New Zealand‘s most threatened species.

Further applications are pending and will be announced once approved. 

Wildlife Institutions Relief Fund (WIRF) recipients

The actual amount that each institution will receive is being agreed to between the institutions and DOC. Once confirmed, amounts will be posted to the WIRF webpage.

Successful applicants:

  • Auckland Zoo
  • Brook Waimārama Sanctuary
  • Butterfly Creek (Papillon Group Limited)
  • Cape Sanctuary (Cape Kidnappers)
  • Kiwi Birdlife Park Ltd
  • National Aquarium of NZ
  • Natureland Wildlife Trust
  • New Zealand Bird Rescue
  • Ngā Manu Wildlife Reserve
  • Orana Wildlife Trust
  • Orokonui Ecosanctuary
  • Otago Museum
  • Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park
  • Penguin Place
  • Penguin Rescue
  • Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre
  • Rainbow Springs Nature Park
  • Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust
  • Te Puia
  • The National Kiwi Hatchery
  • Ti Point Reptile Park
  • Wellington Zoo Trust
  • Wildbase Hospital - Massey University Foundation
  • Wildlife Foxton Trust
  • Wildlife Hospital Trust Dunedin
  • Wildlife Veterinary Trust
  • Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Ltd
  • Zealandia Ecosanctuary


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