Air New Zealand invests in six large biodiversity projects alongside the Great Walks network – enabling over 38,000 hectares of sustained pest control and the return of native birdsong to these special places.
The partnership funds goat control across 2,000 hectares and invasive weed control targeting tutsan, spanish heath, brush wattle and Japanese walnut across approximately 1,700 hectares.
Monthly pest control targeting possums and rodents is also undertaken, covering 64 hectares aound visitor campsites.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
An extensive trapping network covers over 90% of Abel Tasman National Park thanks to the collaborative efforts of DOC, Project Janszoon, Air New Zealand and the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust.
The DOC/Air New Zealand partnership focuses on the northern end of the park around Totaranui. The partnership is funding stoat control across the entire northern end of the park, and two self-resetting trap networks that target rats and stoats. Acoustic monitors that capture birdsong over time are also deployed to gather data on bird populations. Wasp control is also carried out along the track and campsites in the years when wasp densities are high.
The Heaphy Track is home to takahē, great spotted kiwi, kākā and whio, all of which are classified as ‘nationally vulnerable’ in New Zealand’s threat classification system.
Funded through the partnership, a trapping network targeting stoats and rats covers more than 6,400 hectares around the Gouland Downs area to protect a newly established wild takahē population. The establishment of a new wild population of takahē in the area is a New Zealand conservation milestone, and was supported by Air New Zealand with a special charter flight to transport the birds from the Burwood Takahē Centre. Work to establish kākā nest sites will also be done to monitor relative breeding success.
Biodiversity on the most recent Great Walk will benefit from an additional 12,000+ hectares of trapping around the Paparoa Track. This trapping will protect populations of great spotted kiwi and whio present in the area.
Partnership funding is also enabling alpine field surveys, some in places which have not been surveyed for over 20 years.
The Routeburn Track is home to several species under threat, including kea, whio, mohua and rock wren.
Trapping networks have been extended across 7,500 hectares to help boost these species' chances of recovery. Sightings of whio by walkers are now common along the Routeburn Track. Rock wren are now thriving in alpine areas along the track.
Trapping across an additional 9300+ hectares is possible thanks to the efforts of this partnership. Pest control supports recovery for several threatened species here including whio, pāteke, kākā, kea, kiwi, short-tailed bats and several species of forest dwelling birds.
The partnership has also supported several translocations of pāteke into Arthur valley, since 2012. Remote acoustic monitors, trail sensor cameras and distance sampling methods are deployed throughout the year, gathering data to understand effectiveness and what further efforts are needed.