Inspiring the next generation of conservationists

18 September, 2016

You’re never too young to appreciate the beauty of our amazing native birds. But unfortunately, today’s school children may be the last generation in New Zealand to ever see kiwi living in the wild.

The destruction in our forests – and even in our own back yards – is immense, with predators such as rats, stoats, possums and cats killing millions of birds every year. These animals were deliberately introduced by our early settlers but over 40% of New Zealand’s native bird species have now disappeared forever, and the fight is on to save what species are left.

So to help encourage New Zealand kids to get involved, Gary Coker, the Conservation Manager at Rotorua Canopy Tours, recently visited 16 schools around Rotorua to provide a little bit of inspiration.

He took a selection of taxidermy predatory animals with him, and explained some simple things we can all do to protect our native birds and ensure they have a safe place to live and breed.

Lots of children have pet dogs or cats, so keeping them away from vulnerable birds is a great first step. Bringing your cat inside at night is an excellent way to prevent them from hunting under the cover of darkness. And keeping your dog on a lead when you’re out and about, and away from places where birds nest, is another smart move.

Gary also spoke about how easy it is to set up a possum or rat trap in your back yard. It’s amazing what creatures are crawling around in your garden and helping wipe out these predators goes a long way to protecting our birdlife.

If your school is interested in hosting a conservation talk, Gary would love to come and visit you too. Please contact us at

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