How to Protect New Zealand’s Native Wildlife and Natural Habitats from Invasive Species and Diseases
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responsible for the protection of New Zealand’s native wildlife and natural habitats. One of the ways they do this is by preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species and diseases.
There are many ways that invasive species and diseases can be introduced into New Zealand. For example, they can be brought in on ships, in airplane cargo, on used vehicles and machinery, and in soil, water, and plants. Once here, they can spread quickly and have a devastating impact on our native plants and animals.
DOC works hard to prevent the introduction of new invaders, and to control and eradicate those that are already established. But we can all help by being vigilant and taking action to stop the spread of these pests.
Here are some things you can do to help protect New Zealand’s native wildlife and natural habitats from invasive species and diseases:
1. Be aware of the risks
When you travel, work, or play in New Zealand’s outdoors, you could unwittingly spread an invasive species or disease. Be aware of the risks and take steps to minimise them. For example, when you’re hiking in the bush, make sure you clean your boots before you leave to avoid spreading plant pests and diseases.
2. Check your gear
When you’re travelling, check your gear for hitchhiking pests before you leave. This includes your clothes, camping gear, and sports equipment. If you’re bringing any used gear into New Zealand, make sure it’s clean and free of pests and diseases.
3. Clean your boat
If you’re boating in New Zealand waters, you must clean your boat and gear before you leave to help prevent the spread of marine pests.
4. Dispose of rubbish properly
Invasive species can spread when people dump rubbish in the bush or in waterways. Make sure you dispose of your rubbish properly to help prevent the spread of these pests.
5. Don’t move firewood
Moving firewood around can spread plant pests and diseases. Only buy firewood that’s been sourced from a local supplier, and burn it all before you leave.
6. Be a responsible pet owner
If you have a pet, make sure it’s healthy and up-to-date with its vaccinations. Keep it under control at all times, and don’t let it roam in areas where it could spread pests and diseases.
7. Report it
If you see an invasive species or disease in the wild, report it to DOC or Biosecurity New Zealand. Early detection and reporting is vital for preventing the spread of these pests.