Following sustained pest trapping regimes that started in 2004, and erection of a predator-proof fence around the reserve in 2008, the reserve near Eltham has once again become home to many treasured species. These include kiwi, tieke, toutouwai, hihi, matata, spotless crake and many others that previously failed to survive among the wide range of pests and predators.
The reserve, which is managed by the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust, includes a 15-hectare lake/wetland area containing pukatea and kahikatea swamp forests and rushlands. Such has been the success of the fenced sanctuary that bird populations in particular have been 'spilling out' beyond the boundaries of the 234-hectare reserve, demanding the implementation of pest control programmes on surrounding reserve and privately-owned land.
Operations Director for DOC's Hauraki-Waikato-Taranaki Region, David Speirs says the need to extend the wider halo concept around Rotokare was recognised several years ago with the extension of predator control trapping in 4050 hectares of surrounding land.
"This work has enjoyed much practical and hands-on support from other agencies including South Taranaki Forest and Bird and the Taranaki Kiwi Trust and its ongoing success is highly dependent on the support of many conservation partners from the local community."
DOC's Community Fund will be contributing $20,000, spread over the next three years, in support of major funding agencies Taranaki Regional Council, Taranaki Savings Bank and local landowners.
The major work ahead includes monitoring existing trap networks to identify any hot-spots, increasing trap networks where required, installation of wasp control bait stations and development of a pest plant surveillance plan.
"Rotokare Sanctuary and the surrounding protective halo over large areas of forested private land are hugely important contributors to enhanced biodiversity in South Taranaki and the wider aims of Predator-Free 2050 generally," David Speirs said.