Allegations of a phone scam asking people for monetary donations towards wildlife affected by the Rena oil spill are being denied.
World Wildlife Fund staff are ringing people in the area asking for donations.
A Tauranga resident contacted SunLive with concerns after receiving a call, as numerous phone scams have been circulating in the Bay of Plenty.
WWF New Zealand executive director Chris Howe says they do have staff in Tauranga working as part of Maritime New Zealand’s oiled wildlife response team.
“Our focus right now is helping to rescue oiled penguins and other wildlife so they can be cared for and eventually rehabilitated.
“WWF-New Zealand is not raising funds directly for the immediate oil spill clean-up as these needs are currently being met.”
Chris says WWF has supported community conservation efforts in the Bay of Plenty in the past, and in the coming weeks will be engaging with the local community to identify and support their environmental rehabilitation and restoration needs.
“We have responded to requests from people around New Zealand and overseas who want to help by setting up a Bay of Plenty oil spill appeal.
“All donations received by WWF are being placed in a special fund that will support our own costs in helping the clean and support efforts of local conservation groups, once their long-term needs become clearer.”
The fund will also support WWF’s ongoing campaign for greater protection of New Zealand marine species and environment.
“This includes measures to prevent oil spills and keep other risky activities well away from places that are important to people and wildlife.”