Voice for Nature Newsletter of the CENTRAL OTAGO LAKES BRANCH of FOREST & BIRD

July-December 2023

Welcome to the July-December 2023 issue of Voice for Nature, the quarterly newsletter of the Central Otago Lakes Branch of Forest & Bird. We would like to hear from you, so please send any content to Ross (jrosssinclair@gmail.com). Please contact our Chair, Andrew Penniket (apenniket@yahoo.com) for all other branch-related issues. (Banner photo Mo Turnbull)

(Photo Mo Turnbull)

Inside this Issue

  • What your local branch of Forest & Bird does for conservation
  • From the Chair
  • One of the team no longer - a tribute to Jane Forsyth (1953-2013)
  • Mahi for mohua
  • North Peninsula Bay Reserve - Submission by the Central Otago-Lakes Branch, Forest & Bird

Forest & Bird project updates

  • Roys Peak trapping project
  • Makarora Predator Trapping
  • No More Bad Cats
  • Update from the Makarora Coordinator
  • Mohua monitoring update
  • Whio surveys in the Blue, Young, Leven, and Ore Valleys
  • Young Valley trapping
  • Butterfields Wetlands
  • Pennycook Podocarp Restoration
  • Offsetting carbon by planting at Grandview
  • Trapping at Treble Cone
  • Lake Wānaka Pūteketeke / Southern Crested Grebes Project
  • Study of A24 automatically resetting, gas powered traps
  • eDNA to monitor lizards

Latest news from the Southern Lakes Sanctuary

  • Matukituki Bait stations thanks to ORC
  • Potential predator elimination sites
  • Fauna layer added to the ORC mapping website
  • Improvements to our integrated trap management system
  • New AT220 traps on Coronet and Bush creek
  • Braided river surveys in the Rees
  • Mt Alfred – a Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust project

'Shake a stick at...' - other branch-related and conservation news

  • Upper Clutha Wilding Tree Control Group
  • Survey of giant wēta in Gloomy Gorge, West Matukituki Valley, Otago
  • Surveying the Stack Conservation Area for threatened reptiles
  • Pisa Range biodiversity survey

Get involved... get along... get up-to-date...

  • Climate Shift - 10-Point Plan for Climate Action
  • You can help!
  • Up-coming events
  • Missed an issue?
  • Thank you to our donors and supporters
(Photo Mo Turnbull)

What your local branch of Forest & Bird does for conservation

An overview of what the Central Otago Lakes Branch of Forest & Bird is doing to be a ‘Voice for Nature’.

Our main activity is predator trapping: 25 years of dedicated volunteer effort
We have been trapping at Makarora since 1998 with over 1350 traps now in action, and 70+ volunteers on trapping rosters doing 4500 hours per year
We removed 1423 predators in 2022-23 and 8664 since trapping records began

(Photo Andrew Penniket)

We plant hundreds of trees for biodiversity enhancement and carbon sequestration
We monitor and offset our carbon footprint

(Photo Anne Steven)

With partners, we run one of the highest trap lines in the country on Mt Roy to protect 5 species of lizard

(Photo Andrew Penniket)

We work with local schools and communities on conservation projects

(Photo Andrew Penniket)

We monitor mohua populations to measure predator control success

(Photo Jo Tilson)

We track predators numbers to measure the impact of our trapping

(Photo Mo Turnbull)

We sponsor research into predator and mohua populations

(Figure from a report by Nathan Whitmore)

We deploy innovative approaches such as this satellite-based platform for the humane live trapping of feral cats

(Photo Andrew Penniket)

As a founding member of the Southern Lakes Sanctuary, we are aiming to create a predator free region extending from Haast Pass to Lake Whakatipu
At Makarora we are guarding the northern gateway to the Sanctuary

(Image from Southern Lakes Sanctuary)

We make submissions on district and regional plans, and on planning applications by developers, where they impact our biodiversity
We are a 'Voice for Nature' in Central Otago and the Southern Lakes

(Photo DOC)

From the Chair

Andrew Penniket, Chair, Central Otago Lakes Branch of Forest & Bird. (Photo Mo Turnbull)
Spring 2023 has been an enormously challenging time for Forest and Bird volunteers with an almost unprecedented rat and mouse plague in the forests

Usually, most rodents die off over winter, but a huge surplus of beech seed on the forest floor has sustained the rodent populations through the darkest months. This has meant trapping efforts have had to be greatly increased, but our many volunteers have risen to the occasion, with tremendous support and guidance from our dedicated Southern Lakes Sanctuary crew, who have played a significant role in tackling the pests. In addition to more traps, our core crew has installed many poison bait stations in the most critical mohua areas (more below), and it seems to be working.

In addition, our members have been active with two successful field trips, plantings at Grandview, weeding at Pennycook Podocarp Restoration area, and operating the Matukituki Live capture traps. Our newest undertaking is to take over the management of the Lake Wānaka Grebe Project (more below).

The branch has been going from strength to strength as we anticipate a busy summer season ahead

A huge thank you to all our volunteers, Southern Lakes Sanctuary workers, and other conservation champions. The work is never over, but we are making headway, and it looks like our precious birds will be safe for another season.

In this issue, we pay special tribute to Jane Forsyth, a champion of wildlife and wild places who we sadly lost in November. Jane's determination and dedication to doing the right thing is an inspiration to all of us. In Jane's honour, we have planted totara and beech trees along the Millenium Track, about ¾ km from the Waterfall Creek entrance.

Andrew Penniket is the Chair of our local branch of Forest & Bird. You can contact Andrew at apenniket@yahoo.co

One of the team no longer

Jane Forsyth (1953-2023) was a very long-standing member of Forest & Bird, and a staunch advocate for New Zealand’s wild places from her early days tramping in the Tararuas. From Wellington, she spent many hours culling wilding pines on Ruapehu with the Hutt Valley Tramping Club and even more hours on organisations such as Federated Mountain Clubs and Native Forests Action Council. After moving south in 1982, she became involved in climate change with glaciological work on the shrinking Dart Glacier and was deeply involved in regional geological mapping with the New Zealand Geological Survey. Field time included several Antarctic seasons and trips to the Chathams and Subantarctic.

Jane was a prolific author of geological guidebooks and brochures for general consumption, but her refusal to believe in the Crown Research Institute philosophy of commercialization of science placed her firmly in the Department of Science and Research (DSIR) Dinosaur camp. Since moving to Hawea in 2013, she became involved in Te Kakano nursery, Makarora, Awa Nohoaka, Matukituki trapping, and the Grandview forest project.

Jane's predator control work also extended to removing trout from waterways and chairing the Guardians of Lake Hawea. Her death from pancreatic cancer in November leaves a huge hole in many lives.

Mahi for mohua

Fundraising for the ongoing protection so the mohua in Makarora can survive in perpetuity.

The amazing volunteers of the Central Otago Lakes branch of Forest and Bird contribute more than 5000 hours of volunteer time every year to protect the Makarora forests from the ever-present threats that animal pests create. Southern Lakes Sanctuary contributes 7550 hours. This year has been a mega mast and a mega year for mahi.

The mahi we are doing with the help of Southern Lakes Sanctuary is paying off

Although only a small fragmented population of mohua remains, recent monitoring work by Southern Lakes Sanctuary has shown that the male-to-female ratio of mohua is balanced, meaning that we still have a viable breeding population, and recruitment is possible.

Sadly, we all know that during significant mast events, the mohua population declines despite our best efforts. Rodent plagues like the one we are facing now are incredibly scary, as losing all the breeding females in a single season is possible.

During mast years, the Department of Conservation normally steps in with additional resources like aerial toxin controls. However, the DOC does not have enough funds to control all sites that need it.

This is why we, working tirelessly this year to protect our mohua, must do even more. Our little not-for-profit group, with its strong foundations (built on the bones of its many volunteers), is on a mission to generate a funding stream capable of activating serious control measures when serious control is needed. That is, we want to be proactive next time a rat plague is looming so that we can respond with the tools that we know can make a difference and protect our precious manu.

Please support us to support our precious mohua

Donate today via the Mohua (Yellowhead) of Makarora need you! Givealittle page. Already, $6,395 of the $10,000 goal has been raised.

North Peninsula Bay Reserve

Submission on Proposed Use and Management of the North Peninsula Bay Reserve by the Central Otago-Lakes Branch, Forest and Bird

(The following is the verbatim submission made to the Queenstown Lakes District Council by Forest & Bird on 24 November 2023)

Our submission is that the priority objective and management action for the reserve should be the protection of the native vegetation and its natural landscape character.

To quote ecologist Dawn Palmer[1]:

“The best management of the site is protection, release from invasive conifers and rabbits, and enhanced with supplementary plantings to support the existing diversity or plant additional seral shrubland species to support the Kanuka shrubland.”

The reserve can be divided into two areas. The native flora expressed as Kanuka woodland, grey shrubland (matagouri/Coprosma/broom) and fescue “hard” tussock grassland and cushionfield is predominantly within the northeastern half of the reserve (refer attached plan). The southwestern half is more park-like with a cover of exotic grass, recently earthworked and oversown areas, and patches of mature Kanuka. It still has a moderate degree of natural character. The northeastern half supports populations of Pimelea sericeovillosa (Cushion Pimelea) and Raoulia beauverdii, highly characteristic of dry basin floor moraine. They are At Risk species in decline mainly due to loss of habitat. Dry basin floor moraine with indigenous vegetation cover is in itself now a relatively rare ecosystem[2]. For these reasons alone, protection is required under s6c of the Resource Management Act. See appended Information Sheet.

Almost all of the reserve is part of the Outstanding Natural Landscape of Lake Wanaka and its margins.

The transition of natural landscape character into the adjoining QLDC reserve lands and DOC marginal strip on the moraine scarp facing the lake is seamless. The ONL classification can apply (and does apply in this case) to open space zones and reserve land – in this case the classification was given before it became open space although the exact area that is ONL has since been refined through the Plan Change 51 process. There is a statutory obligation to protect the natural character of the reserve so that it may continue to contribute to the wider lake landscape[3] . There is also a statutory obligation to preserve the natural character of the lake margin[4]. The crest of the moraine ridge and the west and north aspects seen from and facing the lake are part of the lake margin. This is most of the reserve.

This reserve is also one of the few areas so close to suburban areas and so easily accessible that has a remarkably natural character and sense of separation from townscape, even remoteness.

Here people can experience nature on its own terms

A fundamental policy for this reserve should be that there is no further clearance of any native vegetation. The indigenous vegetation remaining is a small remnant and needs to be protected and nurtured in its entirety. This precludes building any more tracks where they would have to pass through areas of native vegetation and in particular the areas of easier terrain which are also the areas of the greatest indigenous diversity and the rarer plant species (the open short tussock and cushionfield community). It also precludes encouraging foot traffic to concentrate on area of native vegetation. There are already a couple of foot tracks in place which are in themselves of appropriate character, being formed through common use following the terrain naturally, and with minimal impact. Widening these tracks would result in losing native vegetation. It is our view the track system should largely remain as it is, with minor upgrades only where there is no indigenous vegetation clearance and only to address drainage and erosion issues.

Informal foot track forming “naturally” through common use. Older (left) and more recent (right) examples.

Informal foot track forming “naturally” through common use and an older track similarly formed (shown above), both related well to the topography (as they seek the easiest path) and of minimum width and impact compared to a formed metalled benched track

A second fundamental policy should be to retain and enhance the natural character particularly of the northeastern part. People should be able to continue to experience and explore this reserve as an area of natural landscape, on its own terms. Passive recreation should be the main purpose of this particular reserve in terms of serving human needs.

There are plenty of other town reserves that serve a more park like or recreation ground function, but none that offer such a natural landscape experience...

... including without a wide benched track being cut through it. No further cultural elements should be introduced, except for an occasional sign or seat. These elements should be carefully located and of a design that is in

keeping with the natural character. The seat recently installed in memory of Bob Robertson is an example of an appropriate design.

In order to protect natural character and the indigenous vegetation, weed species within the reserve will need to be controlled (such as sweet brier and exotic grass) or eradicated (wilding trees, pest broom, cotoneaster). Any private planting of non-native vegetation within the reserve should be removed. People could be encouraged to plant species from an approved list instead.

Rabbits will need to be controlled to low numbers. Their browsing is beneficial to the maintenance of an open short turf. Rank exotic grass freed from any grazing can outcompete native species. However high rabbit numbers also mean diggings and heavy browsing of native plants especially woody shrubs such as porcupine bush and coprosmas.

There is opportunity for enrichment planting to increase the biodiversity and return something of the original diversity and character

There is already detailed information available to inform ecological planting projects. Areas suitable for enrichment plantings are the disturbed areas where there is no native vegetation cover at all eg, carpark area and ridge in south end of reserve, and in hollows within the Kanuka woodland. The aim should be to introduce pockets of species that can naturally spread.

Forest & Bird project updates

(Photo Andrew Penniket)

The Roys Peak trapping programme is a collaboration between F&B and the Wānaka Multisport Trapping group to protect at least five species of lizard – orange spotted gecko, Southern Alps gecko, McCann's skink, green skink, and Southern Lakes skink – using one of the highest trapping lines in the country.

The winter snows have finally deserted Roys Peak and our remarkable crew of alpine runners and masochists are reactivating the trapline on November 25th in readiness for the emergence of hedgehogs and ferrets over the summer. The trapline primarily aims to reduce predation on the populations of gorgeous orange spotted geckos.

The Roys Peak trapline is entering its third summer of operation and has already accounted for a large number of high altitude pests

These include 21 hogs, 16 ferrets, and three stoats. Mags has done a wonderful job coordinating volunteers but is now handing the baton to Janet Musker. Big thanks to both.

Orange spotted gecko from Roys Peak. (Photo Sophie Penniket)

Andrew Penniket is chair of the committee of our local branch of Forest & Bird. If you are keen to assist with this high-altitude trapping, contact Andrew at apenniket@yahoo.com

(Photo Mu Turnbull)

Predator Trapping at Makarora

The Central Otago Lakes Branch trapping team of 60+ volunteers, in conjunction with the Southern Lakes Sanctuary team, runs a network of around 1350 traps along 18 trapping lines in Makarora at the head of Lake Wānaka. Each month the team reports the number of predators captured. The Southern Lakes Sanctuary team runs rodent tracking tunnels every three months to give an independent way to monitor predator numbers.

Rat numbers are still quite unreasonable and look to be getting worse
Proportion of tracking stations with rats

Makarora is not up to the catch rates of the 2012 mast/mohua crash yet (see above), but it is getting close. Only some of our November catch is on this graph, so the numbers may still be climbing. 2022 is our "average" year; 2019 was a mast with 1080 in October. A corresponding surge in stoat numbers matched the dramatic drop in rat catch after Sept 2012(see below).

The 2012 mast/mohua crash showing a peak in rats numbers followed by a peak in stoat numbers

We are now seeing more stoatsand the odd weasel; we hope this increase just reflects normal seasonal variation.

The last Monster traps from the ORC ECO fund have gone into the North Young to complete the project. The latest census shows 1335 traps now deployed. Several cat traps at the Young forks need to be run as there is a shortage of armed trappers. Cat catch on other traps has decreased. With helo support, the Blue Valley line has just been cleared: results not yet to hand.

The bait station network, of ca. 700 stations, has been feeding rodents for a month

Mice are taking most baits, so a mouse backlog needs to be cleaned out before any significant impact on rats will be seen. Most stations are being emptied of bait in just a few days. Setting this network up and running it has been an enormous job, and Sarah and the team have worked miracles. We hope it works.

Makarora Live Capture Programme has been ticking along under the auspices of Christine, our local SLS/F&B trapper, and it has recently been ramped up as terns, dotterels, and gulls have been establishing their breeding grounds on the braided river bed. Annual totals will be presented in the next newsletter.

Mo Turnbull is a Trustee of the Southern Lakes Sanctuary representing our local branch of Forest & Bird. Contact Mo at sandymount@actrix.co.nz

(Photo Mo Turnbull)

No More Bad Cats

Satellite hub that sends a messages from individually monitored traps to the trapper's mobile phone when a trap has been tripped. (Photo Andrew Penniket)

Forest & Bird uses humane live traps for cats on braided riverbeds. Live capture traps are used as cats are more willing to enter the larger traps and any kea or pet cats caught can be released unharmed. Because the system sends a message when an individual trap is tripped, we only need to check traps at those times, not daily, and cats do not remain in traps for longer than a few hours. This trapping programme is designed to complement the extensive kill trap network in the adjacent forest areas.

The Matukituki traps have... fantastic results: 25 cats, 31 hedgehogs, 6 ferrets this year so far

Matukituki Live Capture Programme is well into its Spring phase, which started mid-September and has now accounted for 12 cats and 23 hedgehogs, some caught close to Phoebe Creek, where the main population of endangered black-billed gulls is nesting.

This project wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous support of the Upper Clutha Deerstalkers who have been doing most of the day to day trap checking and clearances

Our Spring totals come on top of a busy autumn/ early winter round of trapping, which dealt to 25 cats and 31 hogs, making a total of 37 feral cats and 54 hogs this year - a significant tally.

A big thanks to Brian and Jannie Gillman who sponsor all the remote monitoring fees for both live capture operations operation. A big thanks to Billy, Tim and Andrew for all their help too

We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help who have their firearms permit. If you are keen to assist on cat trapping, contact Andrew at apenniket@yahoo.com.

Andrew Penniket is Chair of our local branch of Forest & Bird and the driving force behind the 'No More Bad Cats' project. You can contact Andrew at apenniket@yahoo.com

Update from the Makarora Coordinator

Sarah Forder with Southern Lakes Sanctuary colleagues Greg Whall and Scott Bewley. (Photo Sarah Forder)

Sarah Forder is the Makarora Hub Coordinator. Sarah coordinates the logistics of supporting and expanding the existing trapping network. She manages both paid field staff, and the large number of volunteers (70+ at last count) who do the mahi on the trap network. This position is with the Southern Lakes Sanctuary and is funded for 3 years through DOC's Mahi mo te Taiao/Jobs4Nature. Makarora is a key focus for Southern Lakes Sanctuary, assisting Forest & Bird with its ongoing predator control mahi.

The Forest and Bird and Southern Lakes Sanctuary team up in Makarora have been in rat-attack mode since April

This has been necessary following a sudden rise in rat numbers caused by abundant seed littering the forest floor. Trap checks were doubled, over 250 rat traps funded by the ORC were housed in hand-built and re-purposed wooden boxes plus additional Monster traps were put out to replace tired old Victor traps. 30 double rat traps have just been deployed up the North Young to assist the population of mohua up there. However our biggest push to control rats in order to afford some protection for mohua in the Makarora Valley has been in the key front-country habitats around Blue Pools and along the fans on the True Right of the Makarora. We have cut 31 new lines between two existing traplines and placed bait stations at every 50m and have also filled the Muddy Creek trapping grid with bait stations (over 450ha).

The increased effort in Makarora - traps and bait stations - to address the current rat plague.
With over 700 bait stations out we hope to achieve a knock-down of rats in these accessible areas where we know mohua are breeding

Our first re-baiting of bait stations after only 4 days has shown a phenomenal bait-uptake of about 80% by mice and rats, making it a huge task to keep the stations baited until we achieve knockdown.

Volunteer effort has been incredible

Volunteer trappers have been travelling to Makarora twice a month to clear hundreds of rat bodies out of traps, help install the bait station grid, trial predator-proof mohua nesting boxes and to help with the baiting. Below is a map of the bait station grid on the True Right of the Makarora. The Yellow dots are traps on existing traplines and the black, bait stations.

The new trap extension in the basin at the head of the Young South Branch has proven to be a stoat hot-spot like no other. As soon as those traps were opened they began catching stoats with almost half the traps having stoats in them at each subsequent check.

Rock Wren have been encountered at two different spots in the basin so we hope that we are making a difference for them

Keen volunteers are beginning to check these traps as part of a 3-day trapping mission twice a month, and with so many logistics and maintenance tasks for these lines a volunteer coordinator Richard Pears has boldly raised his hand to take over the reigns from the over-extended chair Andrew Penniket to coordinate this work.

We are heading into a busy Summer season with other work tasks including ramping up cat trapping and installing two new backcountry trap lines up the Leven and the Ore funded by the New Zealand Alpine Clubs Tupiki Trust. More on that next issue!

You can contact Sarah at sarah@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz

Mohua monitoring update

Southern Lakes Sanctuary Biodiversity Coordinator, Jo Tilson, with a mohua. (Photo Laura Molles

Monitoring started mid-October this year and is scheduled to continue until at least Christmas.

This monitoring is critical this year as we are enduring a prolonged rodent plague

By monitoring mohua within our intensively trapped (and now baited study area), we should get real-time intel on how the resident birds fare this year.

Our main objectives for monitoring this season are:

  1. To do a complete census of all mohua within core monitoring areas: the Makarora TR (between Davis Flat and the Blue Pools), the Muddy Grid, the lower Blue (Camp Flat line) and the North Young.
  2. To get audio recorders out on all territorial groups and, if possible, find nests.
  3. Band as many mohua within our front country study areas (excluding the North Young) or at least some individuals in each territorial group. Then, follow-up monitoring of banded birds throughout the season.
  4. Determine the survival of territorial mohua throughout an unprecedented rodent plague.
The banding is essential to help identify individuals and learn the territorial limits of each pair
A coulour-banded mohua about tot be released. (Photo Laura Molles)

Banding is especially important for the acoustic project we are working on in collaboration with Dr Laura Molles and her colleague Carol Bedoya of Atarau Sanctuary. They use a cutting-edge technique using deep clustering algorithms to identify the subtle differences in individual mohua songs. While it's still in its early stages (for mohua), once this technique has been developed, we will have a tool capable of discerning individual mohua, which will tell us a whole lot about mohua behavior and population dynamics without having to be there on the ground physically.

This will make mohua monitoring much easier and more accurate since mohua is a highly cryptic species that confuses humans

To understand what Laura and Carol have been doing and what a useful tool this will be for future monitoring, see their website, where there is already a bit of a picture of what they are learning based on 18,577 individual song recordings we obtained last season.

For this project, Southern Lakes Sanctuary is responsible for the day-to-day ground monitoring, re-locating the banded birds, putting recorders out, and changing batteries and cards at least every 2 weeks and then sending all the saved data to Laura and Carol who have trained their machine to do all the analysis for us using artificial intelligence. When Laura comes down, she focuses on teasing out the minute differences between individuals (done by following the banded birds around with a big microphone) and then looking at the spectrograms later to help with the machine learning.

We have only done one banding stint so far, but it was pleasing to note that all the pairs we caught were either obvious male-female pairs or male-helper pairs

This was encouraging as it shows that we do (currently at least) have a viable mohua population that is worthy of protection. We banded 12 individuals, representing eight pairs in the Muddy grid area or the Makarora. There are still more unbanded pairs out there that we will hopefully catch later.

In addition to the Southern Lakes Sanctuary-run mohua monitoring program, we have assisted DOC with the fixed transect monitoring. So far, I have trained two of their biodiversity staff to do the front country transects and transects in the Lower Young and Blue. Southern Lakes Sanctuary is continuing to do the transects in the North Young. At the time of writing, there were still 24 transect counts to be done, equating to 6 person days.

Jo Tilson is a committee member of our local branch of Forest & Bird and the Biodiversity Coordinator at the Southern Lakes Sanctuary. You can contact Jo at jo@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz

Whio surveys in the Blue, Young, Leven, and Ore Valleys

In addition to the mohua census, banding, and transect monitoring work, we got a short reprieve from the Makarora Front country to get our feet wet and do some river surveys in late October. These 2 days, we aimed to complete our baseline surveys for who.

A pair of whio in the Blue River. (Photo Jo Tilson)
Over two days, four experienced practitioners and their dogs surveyed the Blue, Young, Leven, and Ore Valleys and found 11 whio

Six of these birds comprised three pairs, but the rest were individuals (one of which we know is part of a pair). We hope that all of the single birds we located had mates tucked away somewhere, busy nesting somewhere safe.

So far, for the Makarora catchment where the Southern Lakes Sanctuary / Forest & Bird group services and monitors, the rivers that look best for whio are the Blue (potentially four pairs), North Young (three pairs), and the Leven (two pairs + two singles). There was also a bird found in the Ore, and a bird was seen recently in the south Young, although this wasn't found in this short survey period.

Special thanks to Max Smart, Kate Simister and Cody Thyne of the DOC national whio monitoring team and Glen Newton form the Paparoa Wildlife Trust who all gave up their time to support us in gathering our baseline survey data..

Where to from here? Ideally, we should do follow-up surveys in January next year to see if any paired birds have ducklings about to fledge. But this will depend on the availability of the handlers and their dogs. Failing that, and if the stars align...

The Southern Lakes Sanctuary will soon have a whio dog of their own on the team

It's been a long-winded process so far. Still, assuming Manu and I pass a grueling test in the Thames next February, we will get the green light to start looking for whio in Makarora. If so, we will get some follow-up surveys in late March or April after the moult and before the ROAR.

Jo Tilson is a committee member of our local branch of Forest & Bird and the Biodiversity Coordinator at the Southern Lakes Sanctuary. You can contact Jo at jo@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz

Young Valley trapping

Heading into the Young valley to check traps. (Photo Andrew Penniket)

Forest & Bird run a trapping program in the Young Valley. Surveys in 2022 by committee member Jo Tilson concluded the site has one of the best remaining populations of Mohua in the region, so Forest & Bird and the Southern Lakes Sanctuary are stepping up efforts in the valley.

Young Valley trapping is a side effort of the more extensive Makarora trapping programme, being more remote and a significant undertaking requiring one or two nights in the valley. Trapping efforts here were held up for 6 weeks in Spring by high river levels coinciding with jet boat operations being closed and the usual high river option of Blue-Young Track not being available due to unexpected bridge closures by DOC. Since then, we have had checks every 10 days or so.

Rat traps have been producing approximately 70-80% kill rates for the North Young which has one of the best remaining mohua populations

Wilkin River Jets now kindly provide free transport to trappers and are helping us maintain a regular round of trap checks.

Andrew Penniket is chair of the committee of our local branch of Forest & Bird. If you are keen to assist on trapping in the Young Valley, contact Andrew at apenniket@yahoo.com

Butterfields Wetlands Hāwea Conservation Reserve

Butterfields wetland area, a site where Forest & Bird volunteers have planted nearly 4000 plants comprising a wide range of local native species. (Photo Anne Steven)

The Butterfields Wetland planting project in the Hāwea River Conservation Area was carried out over 5 years from 2010 to 2015 by our local branch of Forest & Bird with Central Lakes Trust funding. This project is now in maintenance mode, with on-going management by Forest & Bird. It is easily accessed via the Hāwea swing bridge and established DOC walking tracks. The planting follows a natural spring-fed watercourse and small lagoon system in glacial outwash gravels beside the Hāwea River, now populated dominantly by kanuka.

There is very little to report from this project over the past few months, but work is again ramping up for the summer, and we will have more to report in the next issue.

Anne Steven is a committee member of our local branch of Forest & Bird. If you are keen to assist on the project, please contact Anne at a.steven@xtra.co.nz or ph 021 293 9207 or Andrew Penniket 022 342 187.

Pennycook Podocarp Restoration

Forest & Bird volunteers planting matai at Pennycook Podocarp Restoration site, Makarora. (Photo Andrew Penniket)

Forest & Bird are assisting with the Pennycook Podocarp Restoration Project on the south side of Makarora township. This long term project was initiated by Heather Pennycook to rehabilitate her QEII covenanted land, and we are helping her regenerate forest over a large area of broom and bracken with plantings of podocarps that will eventually shade the broom and replace it.

There is very little to report from this project over the past few months, but work is again ramping up for the summer, and we will have more to report in the next issue.

If you are keen to assist on the Pennycook Podocarp Restoration project, contact Andrew Penniket at apenniket@yahoo.com. Andrew is Chair of the committee of our local branch of Forest & Bird.

Offsetting carbon by planting at Grandview

In 2019 Central Otago Lakes Branch initiated a native forest project in Grandview Creek, on land owned by Lake Hāwea Station. The aims of the project are: to sequester carbon to help neutralise the ca. 8 tonnes of CO2 emitted during our travels for trapping; to enhance local biodiversity; and to try and change the mindset that Earth's climate crisis is someone else's problem. Once the forest is capable of absorbing our annual emissions, the balance will go toward Lake Hāwea Station's carbon neutrality efforts. Yes, it will take a long time; yes, it's a lot of work; no, it's not the whole answer; and no, "they" won't do it for us.

Upper part of the Grandview Creek carbon forest (note the carbon-soaking wilding pine) (Photo Mo Turnbull)
The combined Lake Hawea Station - Central Otago Lakes Branch native forest being established in Grandview Creek is still growing but has a long way to go

Thanks to the Central Lakes Trust's generosity and cooperation from Dougal Rowley and Lake Hawea Station, we now have a functioning gravity-fed watering system based around a tank and reticulated water to various taps. The tank and related valves and piping were installed by WaterForce from Cromwell, who also gave the project a significant discount. While we still need rostered volunteers to do the watering work, this setup means we are far less likely to interrupt the neighbour's water supply!

The gravity-fed watering system at Grandview Creek: Ben from WaterForce installing the piping (L) and the new tank (R). (Photo Mo Turnbull)

The project was inspected and audited by Michael Bergin from Tane's Tree Trust and Trees That Count in October.

Trees That Count has subsequently funded another 500 trees for the 2024 planting season, so we must be doing something right

The Central Lakes Trust grant also included funding for more trees for next season.

It is still far better to avoid putting CO2 into the atmosphere in the first place rather than trying to extract it slowly over the next 50 years

Conversion of our combined vehicle fleet to EVs, always carpooling, just not making some trips, and having every one of us consider the global consequences of their driving, remain more effective roads to carbon neutrality. But trees will help, eventually. Our current watering roster has seven people on it. They have a big load to carry on behalf of all the other Forest & Bird members driving around on branch business, so some more people to help keep the trees growing would be much appreciated.

If you would like to help, please get in touch with Anne Steven at a.steven@xtra.co.nz 0212939207. Anne is a committee member of your local branch of F&B.

Trapping update from Treble Cone

Installing traps at Treble Cone Ski Resort. (Photo Southern Lakes Sanctuary)

There is only a little to report here: Treble Cone Ski Resort is just starting trapping again after the winter. The 65 traps should be checked every 2 weeks until they are covered with snow again next year! The remote sensor antenna is still sitting on the Treble Cone ridge and allows Forest & Bird to operate live capture cat trapping in the Matukituki valley that sends us alerts when a cage is triggered.

Tom Reeves is the Cardrona Hub Co-ordinator for the Southern Lakes Sanctuary and a committee member of our local branch of Forest & Brid. You can contact Tom at tom@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz

(Photo Mo Turnbull)

Lake Wānaka Pūteketeke / Southern Crested Grebes Project

In August 2023, Forest & Bird took over the grebe project from John Darby, who has been heroically fostering our population of grebes for 10 years but is now retiring from day-to-day management. John has worked tirelessly since 2013 to create suitable nesting platforms onto which pūteketeke / southern crested grebes can add nesting material and lay their eggs. He will continue to advise and help our newly appointed Grebe Ambassador, Petrina Duncan, and long-standing helper and platform manager, Markus Hermann.

In 2013, the first grebe pair successfully nested on John’s platform. Over the years, more platforms and designs have been added to the area next to Wānaka Marina, with John and many other volunteers monitoring them closely. The grebe breeding colony has slowly movedfrom one nest to 15 pairs nesting on platforms at the height of the spring-summer breeding season.

Grebe Team Wanaka - John Darby, Petrina Duncan, Markus Hermanns.
This project has achieved amazing results with over 530 chicks from the grebe floating platforms during the last 10 years

Grebes have now spread their wings further afield – they can be seen almost everywhere around the shores of lakes Wānaka and Hāwea. The species is also doing well in other lakes in the region – Lake Hayes, Lake Johnson, Lake Dunstan, and Lake Wakatipu.

WWF have just announced generous support of the project, funding construction of a website containing information about the grebes and their lake habitat, new signs for the foreshore and grebe ambassador time.

Great Crested Grebe. Wanaka close up. (Photo: Oscar Thomas)

Quite unexpectedly, in early November, during the annual Bird of the Year Competition run by Forest & Bird, pūteketeke shot to international fame when the host of a US talk show, John Oliver, announced himself as their Campaign Manager. John and his team launched an “alarmingly aggressive campaign” which saw billboards and digital signage placed in major cities around the world, a giant puppet-style grebe on stage, and John dressed up as a flamboyant grebe himself on The Tonight Show. This year, the stakes were even higher due to the competition’s name changing to Bird of the Century to recognise the 100th anniversary of Forest & Bird. The massive push from the American campaigners worked: pūteketeke was crowned the WINNER on 15th November with a whopping 290, and we now have the elected Bird of the Century living right on our doorstep!

After a flurry of media interviews following the big announcement, we are hurrying to get a few things done: new signage for the Wānaka lakefront boardwalk near the grebe breeding area, a grebe website, T-shirts and eventually an educational programme for local school children. We’ve successfully got some grebe project funding from WWF New Zealand andPetrina from Southern Lakes Sanctuary helping out with everything. To keep up to date with the latest from the grebe team, follow their Facebook page:

If you’d like to visit the grebes, head down to the Wānaka Marina and wander along the boardwalk – breeding is in full swing now! The first three chicks have just fledged and at least eight more nests have eggs. Our birds of the century are very determined to increase their numbers! There are also two nesting platforms on Lake Hāwea near the ANZAC memorial hill.

Can you help us? We’ll coordinate a full grebe survey on 27th January 2024 on lakes Wānaka and Hāwea as part of a more extensive South Island grebe census. If you’d like to be involved, please email petrina.duncan@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz – particularly if you have a boat or kayak that you could use to get to areas without roads. And please buy a grebe T-shirt when they are ready to support this wonderful bird species!

Grebe T-shirts on sale now

Lake Wanaka Grebe Project T-shirts for sale! Both men's and women's t-shirts are available in 2 colours. $43 per shirt with $5 donated to the Grebe Project and the option of donating more.

Study of A24 automatically resetting, gas powered traps

Trail cameras were installed on Goodnature® A24 traps in Forest & Bird's Makarora trap network in February 2023 to study interaction rates, kill rates, and predator behavior.

Images from trail cameras were installed on Goodnature® A24 traps at Makarora

Feral cats have established a presence throughout the entire COLB trapping network at Makarora. Notably, these cats exhibit scavenging behavior at A24 locations, with 37.5% of recorded catches being scavenged. It appears that the cats have adapted to feeding at these specific sites, prompting a reconsideration of cat trapping techniques to capitalize on this newfound knowledge. Interestingly, A24 traps do not appear to be as cost-effective as traditional trapping methods when targeting rats in Makarora. The high interaction rates observed from introduced pests, notably possums and cats, suggest additional measures are needed. Furthermore, a concerning observation involves possums unscrewing A24 gas canisters, indicating the necessity for innovative strategies to address this challenge in the ongoing conservation efforts.

eDNA to monitor lizards

eDNA is being develop as a new technique for monitoring cryptic lizard species like this Otago skink...

This entails leaving "eDNA Pipes" in skink and gecko habitat that the lizards run through, shedding small pieces of DNA in the process...

A filter brush within these pipes is then collected....

... and sent to Wilderlab in Wellington and the results show if a certain species is present or not. The third eDNA monitoring trial is taking place over November and December to enhance this detection technique further.

News from the Southern Lakes Sanctuary

Our local branch of Forest & Bird is one of the founding members of the Southern Lakes Sanctuary, an exciting and ambitious project that aims to intensively control or eradicate predators across 183,000 hectares in the catchments of Lakes Wānaka and Whakatipu, to protect more than 30 threatened or at-risk bird and lizard species.

Matukituki Bait stations thanks to ORC

Scott installing bait statio in the Matukituki. (photo Samuel Purdie)

The Matukituki Valley is where we do a lot of predator control and biodiversity monitoring work - in conjunction with the Matukituki Charitable Trust and other community groups. Like Makarora, it’s also an area showing signs of increased rodents.

Our Matukituki hub coordinator Scott and a team of volunteers have been installing bait stations and regularly checking the network of nearly 2500 traps

As well as dealing to current predators, this work is in preparation for a possible future species translocation. We are working to get predator numbers low enough to support the Department of Conservation with a proposed mohua release. Otago Regional Council’s ECOfund has facilitated the installation of bait stations here.

Potential predator elimination sites

We recently commissioned another report from Wildlands Consultants – looking into potential elimination sites throughout our region. The Queenstown Lakes District Council supported this report that will inform our mahi in the future.

This report backed up our hub-based strategy and listed five potential elimination sites. The highest ranked site – the Rees/Dart river systems – is an area we are already working in to create an environment suitable for a potential takahē release.

Four of the five elimination sites identified align with hubs that we are already working intensively

This alignment shows that the monitoring and scoring indices that we use to plan areas for protection align with international best practice. (In line with our kaupapa, look out for this report available soon on our website)

(Photo Mo Turnbull)

Fauna layer added to the ORC mapping website

Further work completed by Wildlands Consultants has built on the current Flora mapping tool available for Otago on the ORC website and added a Faunal layer. This shows species that would have lived in our region up to 1000 years ago – pre-European settlement and the introduction of mammalian predators.

This mapping tool is intended to help Southern Lakes Sanctuary and our partners with restoration work and translocation planning

Improvements to our integrated trap management system

This project, in conjunction with FTP Solutions, involves instillation of gateways for our new integrated management system on our AT220 traps.

This technology allows us to check on traps from the office... increasing our efficiency and enabling us to do much more work

A significant upgrade on the firmware of our AT220 traps is being rolled out, which improves communications and reduces power usage. This means we get more data sent through from traps, have solved many structural bug issues, and have improved reporting.

AT220 trap Relay Bush Creek. (Photo Southern Lakes Sanctuary)

The next update to the traps will be the “arm-on-possum” feature – meaning the trap is usually unarmed, but only arms when it confirms that it’s a possum in the trap. This is a first step towards the traps being safe to use in kea habitat.

New AT220 traps on Coronet and Bush creek

We’re three-quarters of the way through the rollout of the traps donated by Rod Drury for our work on the Coronet Face which the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust also supports. These are already having an impact – 29 of the traps on Coronet Face have taken out 350 possums and over 100 other kills (rats and mice) since winter. What’s extraordinary is we put out a cluster of five traps two weeks ago, which have killed over 100 possums and 40 other predators.

We are learning more and more about possum habitat – three traps in one area have killed 40 possums in 10 days

The live data coming in, is allowing us to make smarter decisions about trap placement, to ensure the best outcomes.

At Bush Creek, we treat the ridgeline as a likely incursion zone, and we have had some pretty impressive numbers. With six traps, we’ve taken out 95 possums and have only got half the ridge covered. We plan to complete the ridge and protect all the points of entry into Bush Creek with the money donated by The Hills. This will help us to create an inland island where our taonga species can thrive. We’re about halfway through this project and are pleased with the results.

Braided river surveys in the Rees

In early November, a bunch of passionate people got together for a day of counting braided river birds along the Rees River

We all lined up across the river bed with radios, notebooks, and binos in hand and began the 14km walk back towards the Glenorchy township. Crossing multiple rivers and treading carefully on the lookout for nests, it was a full day's walk on a beautiful sunny day.

We spotted all the species we expected to see, but there was one that had only ever been counted on one previous survey... the wrybill/Ngutu pare. This braided river bird is a small plover species with an unusually curved bill and only breeds in the South Island of New Zealand. They are vulnerable to predation and are one of our target species to protect under the RDWT Braided River Project - a network of 600 traps surrounding the river network that aim to suppress numbers of rats and stoats. The crew was determined to find at least another wrybill this year.

We were within our last few km's when suddenly something shot up the bank at full pelt

Was it a dotterel? No, it's behaving differently and appears much better camouflaged.. 'stay still!'... 'Is that.. a wrybill?!'. Sure enough, it stopped long enough for us to see that curved bill and plumage while having a drink a few meters away. The radios were going off with excited chitchat between the crew, and we all stopped to observe the little bird for a while. Not even 30 meters further up, another one was spotted! Then a third and fourth! Finally, a fifth flew past shortly after, and the crew were ecstatic. With all the predator control work being carried out as a collective between the groups, things like this will always feel like a win. Whether big or small, those wins are always a great reminder of the why behind this work. With severe flooding events increasing and more booms in pest numbers following increasingly frequent beech masts, we want to continue doing our bit to make these braided rivers safer for these precious species to thrive.

Wrybill during the Rees bird counts. (Photo Laurie Ross)

Mt Alfred – a Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust project

Two new traplines of 63 traps have been installed on both sides of Mt Alfred, including a nice area of beech forest on the western side. These lines are in untrapped areas, that was a significant gap in the previous network. They complement the RDWT traplines around the braided rivers and reduce the reinvasion of predator species to the braided rivers and the birds that live there. (This project is a contribution to the suppression area of the RDWT by the Southern Lakes Sanctuary)

If you want to learn more about the Southern Lakes Sanctuary, click on the links below or contact Sarah Fredric at sarahf@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz

(Photo Mo Turnbull)

'Shake a stick at...'

Other branch-related and conservation news

Upper Clutha Wilding Tree Control Group

Wilding pine priority areas in the Upper Clutha

If you want to know what landowners are required to do about their wilding or seed source conifers in Otago, click on the link below. Observe and report to the ORC if you see conifers that need to be removed!!

Anne Steven is a committee member of our local branch of Forest & Bird. You can contact Anne at a.steven@xtra.co.nz

Photo left: Wilding pine on Mt Iron, a priority area for their removal. (Photo Anne Steven)

Giant wēta Deinacrida pluvialis in Gloomy Gorge, West Matukituki Valley, Otago. (PhotosSamuel Purdie, Warren Chinn, Tom Reeves)

Survey of giant wēta in Gloomy Gorge, West Matukituki Valley, Otago

A joint Southern Lakes Sanctuary and Department of Conservation threatened species programme. Warren Chinn, Tom Reeves and Samuel Purdie.

A survey of the Nationally Endangered giant wēta (Deinacrida pluvialis) was conducted during April 2023 in Gloomy Gorge, a hanging glacial cirque basin in the upper reaches of the Matukituki Valley, Aspiring / Tititea National Park, Otago. Wēta had been found in the area several times, and a report was written. That report recommended further surveys and monitoring of the wēta and outlined the risk of predation by mammals, primarily stoats, and rodents.

Our survey found 133 live wēta over three days and these were distributed in two separate locations.

Our rate of wēta detection was comparable to other searches at four wēta /person/hour. We found multiple live adult wēta at the base of the French Ridge bluff system, an area that receives little direct sunlight and at an elevation of 1200m asl. Elsewhere in the cirque, we found wēta at 1600m on the north-facing side of the valley, a considerably warmer location.

Down-valley view of Gloomy Gorge with Mt Liverpool at rear.

We conclude that mammalian predators are likely responsible for the observed wēta distribution pattern in the cirque, which is probably a function of predator energetics and range.

We highlight the need for a concerted and well-designed wēta population monitoring regime projected for at least the next ten years.

Establishing Gloomy Gorge as an alpine ecological and climate monitoring unit would provide baseline ecological data for the complete range of managed alpine organisms within the cirque, including, birds, lizards, invertebrates, and vegetation.

Tom Reeves is a Hub Co-ordinator for the Southern Lakes Sanctuary and a committee member of our local branch of Forest & Brid. You can contact Tom at tom@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz

Surveying the Stack Conservation Area for threatened reptiles

The biodiversity recce of the Stack Conservation Area will be looking for threatened reptiles such as the Lakes skink (L) and Orange-spotted gecko (R). (Photos Carey Knox)

Later this month, Tom Reeves, Sam Purdie, and Forest & Bird volunteers will be surveying the Stack Conservation area for threatened reptiles such as the Lakes skink and Orange-spotted gecko. Understanding the distribution of the species across this vast area will help us to inform our efforts to protect them.

Tom Reeves is a Hub Co-ordinator for the Southern Lakes Sanctuary and a committee member of our local branch of Forest & Brid. You can contact Tom at tom@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz

Pisa Range biodiversity survey

Southern Lakes Sanctuary staff completed a biodiversity recce of the Pisa tops this November with the main focus of understanding the distribution of ground-nesting, focusing on birds in the alpine. Over three days, we found a huge number of South Island pied oystercatchers and banded dotterels that were nesting or preparing to nest between 1500m-2000m. We also recorded large numbers of invertebrates, such as speargrass weevils and the presence of the threatened Nevis skink.

The team hard at work in the Pisa Range. (Photo Tom Reeves)

Tom Reeves is a Hub Co-ordinator for the Southern Lakes Sanctuary and a committee member of our local branch of Forest & Brid. You can contact Tom at tom@southernlakessanctuary.org.nz

(Photo Mo Turnbull)

Get involved... get along... get up-to-date...

How you can further support our work, learn more about F&B and upcoming events, and catch up on past issues of ‘Voice for Nature’

Forest & Bird has just launched a brand new Climate Shift campaign alongside Greenpeace, Oxfam and more than 30 other partners.

The campaign is a 10-Point Plan for Climate Action that calls on all political parties to prioritise urgent action on climate change.

Communities across Aotearoa are feeling the devastating consequences of climate change

You and your loved ones may even have been personally affected and know first-hand the impact of storms, droughts, floods, and cyclones. Events like these have driven home that we need a clear and decisive response to the climate crisis, now.

It’s not too late to turn things around. We can shift to a better, more connected society where nature is restored and protected, and people thrive.

That’s why we’ve launched Climate Shift, alongside a coalition of more than 30 like-minded organisations. This year’s election must be a climate election, and all political parties must guarantee action that shifts us towards a climate-positive future. We are here to make it happen: are you?

By protecting and restoring our natural world, we can keep huge amounts of carbon in the ground, soften the blow of extreme weather events, and address the biodiversity crisis

It’s time for all political parties to take the action needed to ensure that we can all live in a safe and stable climate, with a flourishing environment.

You can help!

If you would like to volunteer with our local branch, please contact Annabel: annabel@plotlandscape.co.nz

Keep abreast of the latest Branch news and events by following us on Facebook:

If you would like to donate to the work of your branch here in Central Otago Lakes, please contact Lesley (And your donation is tax deductible!): lesleyma2016@gmail.com

If you want to support our national efforts, click here:

Pass it on!

Please forward this email to any of your friends that might be interested in joining us as a Voice for Nature

Not a member yet? You can become a member of Forest & Bird by clicking here:

Learn more about Forest & Bird

Forest & Bird's Purpose: We Protect and Restore Nature in a Climate Crisis

Forest & Bird's Vision: Aotearoa, New Zealand Working Together for Nature

Forest & Bird's Mission: We Stand, Speak, and Act for Nature

(Photo Andrew Penniket)

Up-coming events

Forest & Bird planting area at Grandview Creek, Lake Hawea Station. This project is the start of our local branch trying to become carbon neutral. (Photo Mo Turnbull)
  • Planting at Butterfields Wetlands, Hāwea Conservation Reserve. Volunteer time is Wednesday afternoons from 3-5pm or Sundays from 10am-12pm. These are self governed sessions but the idea is that people turn up at the same time to work together, and if coming from further away, please carpool if not biking. You will need to bring your own weeding tools. Suggested tools are a large screwdriver or similar for levering out the steel pins holding the cages down (often very firmly), a small grubber with a pick point or prongs, wire weeding hook, gloves, kneeling mat and snacks and drink. If it is hot and sunny still, a hat and sun cream and possibly insect repellant! As this will be casual with people turning up at different times, you will need to wander through the planted area to find other volunteers working. The general plan is to work from the end closest to the swing bridge to the far end. f you are interested in helping, contact Anne Steven: a.steven@xtra.co.nz or ph. 021-293-9207.
  • Pūteketeke Australasian crested grebe survey on South Island lakes, 27 January 2024. We still need observers so please do contact us if you live nearby or will be holidaying/tramping/boating at any of the following lakes and can assist with the count: Lakes Tennyson, Sheppard/Mary, Mason & Little Mason, Minchin, Letitia, Murray, Swan Lagoon, Kellands Pond, Aviemore, Waitaki, Brunner, Ōkārito Lagoon, Mapourika, Matheson, Paringa, Ellery, Andersons Lagoon, Waihola, Butchers Dam, Conroys Dam, and Fiordland lakes. Please email or phone: Rosalie Snoyink: rsnoyink@xtra.co.nz / Leslie Jensen: LAJ@xtra.co.nz / Phone: 022 638 1903
  • EBird Workshops - Wednesday 13th December 2023 at Lake Hayes Pavilion.
  • Whakatipu Wildlife Trust stall is at Remarkables Markets Saturday 9th, 16th and 23rd December 2023.
  • WAI Wanaka Out on the roto / lake; monthly visual clarity testing. 19th December, 5.30pm-7pm and every month between 20th-30th of the month at Waterfall Creek carpark, Lake Wanaka. Come along to meet some of the WAI Wanaka team and fellow volunteers for a fun hour of getting out on the water and learning how to date visual clarity measurements. Email kelly@waiwanaka.nz if you would like to come along, WAi Wanaka do this every month!
(Photo Mo Turnbull)

Thank you !

The donors & supporters making all of the above possible

Panorama of Makarora Valley from Mt Shrimpton. (Photo Mo Turnbull)

We would like to thank our many generous donors and supporters: DoC's Mahi mo te Taiao/Jobs for Nature through funding to the Southern Lakes Sanctuary has enabled a paid coordinator and several "boots on the ground" staff to be hired for Makarora, and for other generous support; Tupiki Trust (backed by the New Zealand Alpine Club) via the Southern Lakes Sanctuary for funding to expand our efforts to protect biodiversity in the Makarora area; Brian and Jannie Gillman continue to give a substantial donation that went toward the No More Bad Cats control system; Wonderland in Makarora offers our trappers a local’s discount that is much appreciated – we drink a lot of their coffee; DoC Community Fund supported the expansion of the Makarora trap network by 275 traps over 3 years, and DOC continues to pay for some of the baits we use in trapping.

Sign at the Remarkables skifield building. (Photo Mo Turnbull)