New Zealand fur seal/kekeno.
Image: Sabine Bernert | ©


We are currently not accepting new volunteers. Volunteers will support DOC rangers by responding to call-outs from the public about injured, distressed or deceased wildlife within the Timaru area.

17 April 2023: This opportunity is currently full and we are not accepting new volunteers. Check this webpage for updates – volunteers will likely be needed in 2023/24.


Ongoing, but the busiest time of the year for callouts is usually from September to March.


Volunteers will check on reports of injured, distressed or deceased wildlife – this may include native birds, seals, penguins and other coastal animals. Volunteers report back to the DOC Geraldine office and a ranger may be sent if further action is required.

A full induction and training will be provided by DOC rangers.

The role will involve talking to members of the public about marine mammal behaviour and site management if called to where a marine mammal is located. Volunteers will record and report on the appearance and behaviour of the animals concerned.

Volunteers are not expected to handle or relocate any marine mammals, just report on their condition. As a result, DOC staff will be able to better manage resources to respond only as needed.

Volunteers are equipped with signage to place at sites where seals or dead marine mammals have been reported by the public.

The role will also involve uplifting injured or deceased birds (eg kererū, shags and bellbirds) from members of the public and transporting them to the DOC office or an authorised wildlife rehabber for assessment.

Volunteers who regularly travel between Timaru and Christchurch or Timaru and Dunedin would also be welcome.


  • Respond to calls DOC receives from members of the public regarding injured, distressed or deceased wildlife in the Timaru area, and report back to DOC.
  • For marine mammals – take pictures and place signage on site.
  • Provide seal advocacy and information to members of the public in line with DOC’s seal management policies.
  • Provide transport of injured (or deceased) birds to the DOC office in Geraldine or authorised wildlife rehabilitation centres.


Multiple locations within Timaru district, but primarily coastal areas close to Timaru CBD.

For example:

  • Caroline Bay
  • Washdyke Lagoon wildlife refuge
  • Timaru little blue penguin colony
  • Patiti Point
  • Smithfield and the Dashing Rocks
  • Timaru Port

What to expect

Fitness/skills required

A low level of fitness is required, as well as the following skills:


  • Communication skills: You will communicate important information to DOC rangers and members of the public.
  • Driving: You will need to use your own vehicle for transport.
  • Ability to respond at short notice: We don’t know where or when a call will come in.


Native bird and marine mammal identification: Training can be provided.

Work environment

Primarily coastal environments, but bird pickup/drop-off could be anywhere in district.

Equipment and other resources provided

A full induction and training session which will include:

  • health and safety – JSA/Safety plan
  • how to understand marine mammal behaviour
  • public messaging in line with DOC’s marine mammal policies.

Equipment provided:

  • DOC high-vis jacket
  • Overalls
  • DOC fleece
  • Volunteer name badge
  • Gloves
  • Signage
  • Transport cages for birds

What to bring

You will need to bring your own:

  • Suitable footwear
  • Wet-weather gear
  • Transport

How to apply

Fill out the online application form.


For further information contact:

Simon Waugh, Ranger Biodiversity
Phone: +64 27 246 4429

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