The exciting Sinbad Sanctuary Project was established in 2009, a partnership between Southern Discoveries a local tourism operator, Fiordland Conservation Trust and DOC.
The aim is to enhance the ecological values of the gully by reducing the invasive pests to protect the endangered species that still survive in the gully today. Also to consider future reintroductions for species that no longer survive in the gully.
Why the Sinbad Gully is so special
Nestled behind the world famous Mitre Peak, the Sinbad Gully is characterised by extremely steep glacially carved walls punctuated by near vertical granite cliffs. These walls slowed pest invasion into the gully and as a result a number of unique native species remain in the Sinbad.
The star species is the Sinbad skink, currently only known within a small area within the Sinbad alpine cirque.
Large endemic ground weta and leaf veined slugs are also only known to the mountain ranges within this region and the valley remains home to number of endangered bird species including weka, whio, kiwi, mohua and kaka.
John Robson, General Manager at Southern Discoveries said ‘We are delighted to be working with the Fiordland Conservation Trust and DOC to protect and preserve this unique part of Milford Sound for future generations.
Our staff love having the opportunity to help with trap checking and learn from the DOC staff about the precious environment that exists in Sinbad Gully. They then pass on this information, along with their first hand experience onto our customers in Milford.’
The shear walls are a natural support for pest control within the gully acting as a partial barrier to pest reinvasion. The next step for the partners is to further expand pest control to include rats and possums, to ensure this highly valuable and unique suit of species continue to survive as a window into how life once was for visitors to Milford Sound.
Jo and Dave from Southern Discoveries undertaking lizard monitoring