Three Rotorua wildlife institutions have been thrown a lifeline after an announcement they will receive a slice of $9.6 million in relief funding.
Wildlife institutions impacted by New Zealand's Covid-19 response will soon receive support from the Department of Conservation (DOC) through the Wildlife Institutions Relief Fund.
Rainbow Springs Nature Park, The National Kiwi Hatchery, and Te Puia have been announced as recipients of the fund.
The fund is worth $14.9m with $9.6m being allocated to 28 successful applicants.
The one-off funding will cover urgent and critical operational costs to maintain animal welfare, protect and retain specialist jobs and prevent the collapse of recovery programmes for New Zealand's most threatened species.
The amount that each institution will receive is currently being worked through.
DOC director-general Lou Sanson said without support, wildlife under the care of eco-sanctuaries, zoos, wildlife parks and wildlife rehabilitation facilities would be at risk.
Sanson said DOC worked closely with Zoo Aquarium Association Australasia and Sanctuaries of New Zealand Incorporated and collectively found the Covid-response had "severely reduced wildlife institutions' revenue from visitors and donations".
"The continued closure of New Zealand's borders means revenue is likely to remain low for the 2020/21 financial year," he said.
"Wildlife institutions work hard to protect and restore populations of threatened native species," he said, carrying out invaluable work, especially for indigenous species.
He outlined the important role the institutions played in community education, facilitating encounters with native species and wildlife experts, and providing a hub for community conservation activities.
Further applications are pending and will be announced once approved.
Wildlife Institutions Relief Fund recipients
Brook Waimārama Sanctuary
Butterfly Creek (Papillon Group Limited)
Cape Sanctuary (Cape Kidnappers)
Kiwi Birdlife Park Ltd
National Aquarium of NZ
Natureland Wildlife Trust
New Zealand Bird Rescue
Ngā Manu Wildlife Reserve
Orana Wildlife Trust
Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre
Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust
The National Kiwi Hatchery
Ti Point Reptile Park
Wellington Zoo Trust
Wildbase Hospital - Massey University Foundation
Wildlife Foxton Trust
Wildlife Hospital Trust Dunedin
Wildlife Veterinary Trust
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Ltd