Introduction

The Community Conservation Partnership Fund and a jet boat company are helping control predators in Southland and Fiordland.

The Community Conservation Partnership Fund (CCPF) and a jet boat company are helping control predators in Southland and Fiordland.

Birdlife in the area is healthier thanks to new stoat traps being installed along a river and two popular tracks by Wairaurahiri Jet, supported by the Community Conservation Partnership Fund.

Wairaurahiri jet boat passengers unloading traps .
Wairaurahiri Jet passengers unloading traps

Owners Johan Groters and Joyce Kolk have been operating a predator control programme since 2006, in liaison with the Department of Conservation (DOC). The programme helps eradicate rats and stoats and runs alongside their jetboat operation.

Volunteers and Joyce Kolk from Wairaurahiri Jet install traps along the South Coast Track
Volunteers installing traps

With the help of volunteers, Johan and Joyce have placed traps along the Wairaurahiri River, the South Coast Track and the Hump Ridge Track. Many of these traps have deteriorated so the predator control programme was supported by $35,000 from the CCPF to purchase 304 stoat traps to replace the old rusted traps along the Wairaurahi River and also expand the trap line along the South Coast Track.

Every trap is sponsored by the company’s jet boating customers and volunteers check, re-bait and re-set the traps monthly. Johan and Joyce educate tourists, hunters and trampers they transport into remote areas of Fiordland National Park about flora and fauna in the park and encourage them to protect native birdlife against predators.

The programme has so far caught 663 stoats, 415 rats and 44 weasels along the river and two tracks, resulting in healthier bird life. “I’ve personally noticed a big increase in birdlife in these areas,” Ms Kolk said.

On the weekend of 16-17 May, 16 volunteers will complete the trap replacement project. More volunteers are welcome.

The company also plans to introduce a scheme for trampers and jet boaters to record the amount and types of bird life they see in Fiordland.

Dale Green from High Country Helicopters drops off traps to Joyce at the South Coast Track.
Dale Green from High Country Helicopters drops off traps to Joyce at the South Coast Track

Background information

The Community Conservation Partnership Fund is administered by DOC with the aim of inspiring and enabling community-led conservation growth. Successful projects for this year’s round of funding will be announced in August 2015.

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