Media Release from DOC - June 2013
Date: June 2013
New project to protect Mt Aspiring Park Valley wildlife
A major conservation project has been launched to protect threatened native species in the
The joint project between the Department of Conservation and Matukituki Charitable Trust aims to reduce pests in the West Matukituki valley to benefit native wildlife such as birds, bats, lizards and native plants.
The Matukituki Charitable Trust, recently founded by Derek and Gillian Crombie of Christchurch, is funding the project for at least ten years, although further sponsors are also being sought.
DOC’s Wanaka Area Office Manager, Paul Hellebrekers, said this will be a long-term project that would benefit species, the valley’s ecosystem and recreational users.
“As the Trust grows, our long-term aim is to expand this project to include the East Matukituki Valley and the lower catchment of the valley, and to include both conservation land and neighbouring private land, with the support of landowners.”
The first steps of the project to establish baseline data, including possum and rat numbers, have been completed, and additional trap lines laid for stoats. The next step will be to recruit volunteers to help with pest trapping and monitor beech seed fall and wildlife, Mr Hellebrekers said.
Mr Crombie said that Mount Aspiring National Park had been their playground for tramping and climbing for many years, and the West Matukituki was ideally suited for increased conservation efforts.
“We have witnessed the decrease in bird life over the years in this area and are passionate about working with DOC on a long term plan to restore the natural balance and enhance this special place for the public to visit and enjoy for many generations.”
Adventurer Bear Grylls and Julian Grimmond of the Mountain Film Unit in Queenstown have also endorsed the project. The television production NBC’s ‘Get Out Alive’ with Bear Grylls was filmed in the Matukituki valley in March and they were so taken by the environment that they donated $10,000 towards the project.
Bear Grylls said: “We are so grateful for everything that the communities around New Zealand offered us in terms of support and encouragement whilst filming GOA – it is why I love NZ so much! Pioneers in attitude and openness and an example to the world of how to achieve good things under pressure and always with a smile!”
I hope this small contribution helps support that great Kiwi spirit of adventure as well as preserve and protect the amazing wilderness that NZ can boast so proudly.”
Wanaka Area Office manager
(03 443 9460
027 222 4139
Derek and Gillian Crombie
03 982 8100
Species that may benefit from pest and predator control in the matukituki valley include South Island robin, South Island rifleman, South Island kaka, kea, rock wren, blue duck/whio, braided riverbed birds (black-fronted term, NZ oystercatcher, banded dotterel and wrybill), South Island long-tailed bat, up to six species of lizard and scarlet mistletoe.
Threatened species such as möhua/yellowhead may also be moved to the valley from an area where there is a larger population.
About 80,000 people a year visit
Posted: Wed 19 Jun 2013