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#23 Take the Lead

10 Points

Make a bandana for your dog that helps spread the word: dogs on leads help our native birds safely breed and feed!

Read the instructions


See also

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Discover more ways to protect our native species with Kiwi Conservation Club

What to do

Your mission is:

Make a bandana that makes your dog look swag and spreads the message to others. Keeping your dog on a lead can make a big difference in keeping our manu (bird) mates like penguins and kiwi, safe.
LittleBluePenguin CraigMcKenzie

1. Penguin capital of the world!

Did you know that NZ is home to 1/3 of the world’s 18 penguin species? We are the penguin capital of the world! And if you're near the sea, chances are that there's penguins living near you, like these kororā or little blue penguins.

Kororā are the world's smallest penguins and are awesome swimmers: like underwater torpedoes!


2. Unhappy feet :-(

They are sweet in the sea, but on land our penguins are highly vulnerable to being hunted by prowling predators. These include stoats, and cats and dogs. Luckily we can make a big difference by looking after our pets with our manu mates in mind.

Keep your pets away from nesting sites and indoors at night, keep them well fed and, when you're on beaches and trails: keep your dog on a lead! 


3. Take the Lead

You can make a difference too by designing a Take the Lead bandana for your dog, or a friend or whanau's dog! Your dog gets to dress up, and be a spokes-dog for being considerate of our awesome natives.

Hint: you might want to sketch your design on paper before getting out the paints!


4. Bandana brilliance!!

Make your bandana from a large square of white cloth around 35cm x 35cm. You could cut up an old sheet or pillowcase! Fold it in half into a triangle (your design will go one one side).

Make your bandana design brilliant and bold. The lives of our awesome manu mates are at stake (and so is the fashion reputation of your dog!) 


5. Be nice to our native neighbours!

The 'Take the Lead' message of your bandana, doesn't just apply to penguins. Much of our wildlife (e.g. kiwi) is also vulnerable to being hunted by uncontrolled pets like dogs and cats.

Keeping your dog on a lead might mean being able to be next-door neighbours with a living dinosaur: the tuatara, how cool is that?!


6. Parade on the dog-walk

We couldn’t call it a catwalk could we? Take the message to the trail or beach and you and your dog can be ambassadors for looking after our manu taonga (bird treasures) like kiwi and kororā. 

Upload a photo to Wild Eyes to earn points and level-up! 


7. Spread the word

Altogether now, As Rocky the Rockhopper Penguin says: "Taking the lead helps me safely breed! Rock on!"

8. Keep your cat cool with the birds

You can also help out our birds, lizards and insects by keeping your cat considerately. Keep your moggy well fed, microchipped and neutered, and ideally keep it on your property. If it's allowed to roam, put a collar with a bell on it to give the birds a warning ... or better yet: sew them a stylish scrunchie collar!

What's happening?


There are six penguins that make their home on around NZ coasts: the yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho), little blue penguin (kororā), and Fiordland crested (tawaki), Snares crested (pictured here), rockhopper and erect-crested. In big numbers, or small, there will be penguins living somewhere close-by to you – you just might not know about them yet. 

Snares crested penguin1375 Hallett3


Screen Shot 2017 06 16 at 10.59.35 am

Tawaki just happen to be the model for the Wild Eyes logo too! 

Do you reckon this handsome fella uses gel on his eyebrows?! Did you know: tawaki means 'clothed in lightning' in Māori. With that hairstyle it's easy to see where the name came from eh!

... but it's not all happy feet

It's possible that a world without Happy Feet could happen very soon. Ten of 18 penguin species are threatened with extinction.

What’s happening? They’re becoming homeless (habitat loss), they’re getting hungrier and trapped (due to fishing by humans) and on land they're getting attacked by our pets, like off-lead dogs and roaming cats.

This kororā was killed by an off-lead dog by Frank Kitts Park on the Wellington Waterfront. (photo: Bindi Robertson)

Screen Shot 2017 06 16 at 10.56.10 am


We are named after these guys, and they're pretty special, so really: looking after kiwis is  ... looking after ourselves! Keeping your dog on a lead helps Kiwis look after kiwis!


Managing our pets better helps our kiwi mates and penguin pals (and me too!):

  • Keep your dogs on the leash
  • Put collars (with bells) on your cats
  • Keep pets well fed
  • Keep pets away from nesting sites, and indoors at night.



Hang on a minute, penguins can't fly ... they're pretty sweet swimmers though! Have a laugh as Bret and Jemaine (aka Flight of the Conchords) learn about NZ's cool crested penguins.


We don't have to go the Sub-Antarctic Islands to hang out with these special sea-birds, if we are good neighbours with our natives we can have them living alongside us. In Oamaru they reduced the risk of their precious kororā getting hit by cars by building a tunnel under the road. Check out the kororā expressway!


If we look after kiwi and keep them safe from predators we can have them in our backyard. Here Department of Conservation's Nic Toki checks out kiwi on Stewart Island, where (trained!) dogs play a key part in looking after these taonga (treasures).


And if we trap pests and keep our penguins safe from our pets, one day our beaches might look like this ...


Take the lead: save a kororā!!!

What other members have done:

#23 Take the Lead

Stylish Steffy!

BirdPrincess 230
By BirdPrincess

Stylish Steffy!

20200412 125505.19
I made 2 bandanas. Steffy lover her so much she licked me and and am giving one to Nana's dog Coco because he goes for walk at the beach.
#23 Take the Lead

Take the lead

Take the lead

WIN 20200414 09 48 15 Pro
#23 Take the Lead

Take the lead

Take the lead

WIN 20200414 09 35 13 Pro
WIN 20200413 11 25 50 Pro.2
well i just did one with the dog on the leash and one without the dog on the leash
#23 Take the Lead

Save the penguins

Save the penguins

DEF400D1 06C2 4E60 A6FC CFDD916FEFFB.4
King Duck
I first started by drawing a penguin then added save the Penguins and put dogs on leads. I like birds we need to protect them.
#23 Take the Lead

Meg the Model

Meg the Model

20160702 172456.7
Penguins are important! We have seen them at our local Curio Bay but there are no dogs allowed down there because they will harm the penguins. It's an important message.
#23 Take the Lead

Take the Lead

Take the Lead

20161115 174150.13
I made this for our dog Meg. We have penguins near where we live and they have made them a new habitat area so it's important to look after them.
#23 Take the Lead

Best friend fun!

IMG 0205.4
Outdoorexplorer 80
By Outdoorexplorer

Best friend fun!

IMG 0205.4
My friend and I made these cool bandanas for my two dogs. They loved them! It was so much fun!