7th May 2020

Wildlands Report and a Proposed Southern Lakes Sanctuary

During the last year, the WWT has been involved in a project to look at the possibilities for what a landscape scale approach to predator suppression and eradication might look like across the whole Queenstown Lakes District.

Working together in partnership with the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust, Central Otago Forest and Bird, Wanaka Backyard Trapping, Aspiring Biodiversity Trust, Soho Properties, the Matukituki Catchment Animal Pest Control Project, and the Department of Conservation with funding from DOC, QLDC, ORC, and the Torrence Family Trust, we were able to commission Des Smith from Wildlands Consultants to do a study and report for us.

The report was released to us in early February and offered us a wonderful overview of all of the current projects and also how we might think about creating hubs and linkages across our environment in the future.

Download the full Wildlands Report here…

When the country moved into Level 4 in late March, we were encouraged to consider putting in a proposal to Predator Free 2050 Ltd to develop a 5 year plan that would have both job creation and predator eradication at its core. We worked collaboratively with all of the original groups and thanks to the help of Ross Sinclair and Bruce Jeffries of COF&B who helped with much of the writing, we put together a proposal for a Southern Lakes Sanctuary which would have 8 geographical hubs with linkages between and among them drawing from a mosaic of our existing volunteer programs and creating opportunities for paid professional roles as well.

We submitted our proposal in early April and are still waiting to hear the outcome, but we were delighted to be able to lead that project and to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful people who lead all of the other predator free projects across the district.

We are hopeful that once we’re allowed to go back to gatherings again, we’ll get each of the groups over to give a talk at our Talks on the Wild Side so we can all learn about what’s happening in the Wanaka and Hawea catchments, too. We’ll let you know, too, as soon as we have more news but in all of the ‘shovel ready’ projects we’ve been hearing about across the region, many are keen to create projects that involve conservation work at their core.

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