Introduction

Predator-free Blumine Island/Oruawairua in Queen Charlotte Sound has had extra protection from predators thanks to the assistance of Outward Bound students.

Date:  20 November 2018

The 14 students and their instructor helped DOC rangers put out 48 tracking tunnels around the island to replace the old ones which were deteriorating. The tracking tunnels are one of a number of devices used to detect an incursion of predators such as rats, stoats or weasels. The predators’ footprints are tracked on ink pads inside the tunnels.  

“If the tracking tunnels and other devices detect a predator, then we deploy traps to catch and remove the predator,” says DOC biodiversity ranger Dan Palmer. “The quicker we can detect the presence of a predator on the island, the less harm it can do to our native wildlife.

“Our biggest fear is a pregnant female getting on the island, which without detection, could quickly escalate to a breeding population.

The previous day the students built 125 boxes to house mouse traps on Blumine Island/Oruawairua.

The relationship between Outward Bound and DOC is important to both parties. DOC regularly hosts ‘watches’ or groups of students, and they provide approximately 250 volunteer work days a year to DOC. Outward Bound provides another 600 work days a year to conservation groups in Marlborough.

The work is undertaken as part of the students’ three-week course. The outdoor education courses focus on building leadership, resilience and team work through hands-on experiences, as well as an opportunity to serve the community.

For the students the work experience gives them a new perspective of the environment they often spend time in.

“Before this trip I rarely noticed the wooden boxes dotted along tracks, but after two days working alongside DOC my lens has shifted and I now have a heightened awareness and appreciation towards each tracking tunnel and trap I pass,” says instructor Louise Henderson.

“For every staple, screw and bead of sweat that went into crafting and delivering these, I now feel the weight and responsibility that partners with conservation and a commitment to keep our island sanctuaries predator free”.

Blumine Island/Oruawairua is one of several predator free islands in Queen Charlotte Sound and is open to the public. It is home to several endangered species such as orange-fronted parakeet/kakariki, saddleback/tīeke, and rowi kiwi.

Contact

Wendy Sullivan, Kaitiaki Community Ranger
Phone: +64 2 520 3016
Email: wsullivan@doc.govt.nz

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