Eleven year old local student wins national competition to protect wildlife

olivia doughty

Suburban School’s Olivia Doughty (11 years old) won the 2018 Think Kind Student Competition which calls for projects on how we can help animals.


The project

Olivia’s project, titled “Can we better protect the marine mammals of Kaikōura?” focuses on the information in Kaikōura available to locals and tourists about what to do around wildlife on land and sea, and if there was anything more that could be done to help educate people.

Starting with some research, Olivia looked at places where information was currently available about wildlife. She searched the internet, looked for local signs, visited the information centre, talked to the Department of Conservation and local volunteers, and interviewed 25 locals and tourists.

Olivia felt that many local people knew quite a lot about Kaikōura marine mammals, but non-locals not so much. Less than half of the people she interviewed knew to stay 10m or more away from a seal on land and many had not seen available information about the guidelines for interacting with wildlife on land at sea.


Olivia's suggestions

Olivia’s dedication to the wildlife in Kaikōura is clear, and she would like to train to become a seal volunteer so that more people are talking to tourists at places like Point Kean. She would also like to help give information to boaties by handing out leaflets and stickers during the summer, to help educate them about the rules and distances to keep from wildlife when out on the water.

Olivia wrote to our local DoC Ranger Simon with some suggestions about how to get information to a wider audience. Simon and Olivia are now working together to come up with a plan to educate people about the rules and regulations for interacting with wildlife in Kaikōura.

We think Olivia’s project is fantastic, and are so pleased to see locals taking an interest in protecting our wonderful wildlife. 

See Olivia's project here. 

06 December 2018