The Department of Conservation has boosted predator control efforts in the Maungataniwha Native Forest in inland Hawke’s Bay with an $18,000 grant to the Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust. The Trust runs an extensive predator control operation, described by DOC as “ambitious”, in two sanctuary areas comprising 1,000 hectares of native forest.
The sanctuaries have been created to provide safe breeding areas for such threatened native plants and animals as kiwi, whio (blue duck) and kakabeak (Clianthus maximus), a native shrub with a striking curved red flower shaped like a parrot’s beak.
The FLR Trust will use the DOC grant to extend an existing network of traps and bait stations that target predators such as rats, stoats and possums which cause havoc with these native species of flora and fauna. Bird counts and trapping figures provide an indication of the programme’s success.
Trust Chairman Simon Hall extended his thanks to DOC for the grant and said it was another step in the direction of the national Predator Free by 2050 vision.
“Establishing these sanctuaries in this rugged, remote and inaccessible area is ambitious but the success we’re having tells us that the blood, sweat, tears and capital involved is absolutely worth it,” Mr Hall said.
“The restoration of life to an area which had been badly knocked about by predators is a joy to experience. You only have to go several meters beyond the treeline to hear the sounds of our native birds and to feel the ngahere mauri (forest lifeforce). It’s wonderful.”
The FLR Trust is fast carving out a name for itself as one of the most prolific and successful kiwi conservation initiatives in the country.
In addition to the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project the Trust runs a series of eight native flora and fauna regeneration projects on four properties in the central North Island and the South Island’s Fiordland National Park. These projects include the re-establishment of native plants and forest on 4,000 hectares currently, or until recently, under pine – the largest such venture in the country.