Covid-19 lockdown's impact on native wildlife 'manageable' so far, but that could change - DOC

Manageable for now - that's how the Department of Conservation has assessed the impact of the Level 4 lockdown on New Zealand's native species.

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DOC's Brent Beaven says the impact on wildlife has only been a 'small blip,' providing it's lifted soon. Source: 1 NEWS

While there are silver linings to everybody being at home, there still needs to be plenty of caution about our wildlife. 

It's arguably the most popular time in the hunting calendar, but at the height of the deer mating season there's not a hunter in sight 

That may be good news for the deer but not so much for the rest of our environment, according to DOC. 

“It's also the time of year we've got a lot of kiwi chicks out and about and it's the stoats and ferrets that hit them hard,” explains Brent Beaven, Predator Free 2050 manager for DOC. 

The Department of Conservation is remaining optimistic that the lockdown won’t have a lasting impact on native flora and fauna. 

"Conservation is a real long-term game. These small little blips we can manage. We'll get some individual birds that will get killed, but our populations will survive,” says Mr Beaven. 

For the duration of Alert Level 4, DOC has had to suspend all its non-essential services, including predator control programmes.

According to Mr Beaven, the timing of the lockdown in many ways couldn't have been better. 

“Most birds aren't breeding, and most of our pests aren't breeding either so we won't see a massive rise in numbers," he says.  

However, if things can’t return to normal for the DOC soon, the environmental impact could be much greater. 

“If we end up doing this for six months then we can have another chat about the impacts, because it could be different." 

Conservationists are now crossing their fingers that Level 3 measures will let them back out into the bush to give our native wildlife a helping hand once again