Rotokare Halo Project

 

"Halo Effect" - occurs when native species naturally spread from protected areas such as Rotokare Sanctuary whose pest-free environment has boosted the numbers of animals surrounding it. Creating a 'halo' of greater biodiversity.

With the completion of the pest-proof sanctuary fence, and erradication of 12 species of mammalian pests trapping ensued around the outside of the fence, in particular around high risk areas such as the gates and culverts. This highlighted the abundance of pest animals routinely active within millimeters of the pest-free sanctuary environment.

The Halo Project concept was developed by 2011, with the first priority to ensure the efficient provision of sustainable protection for the sanctuary and over-flow of wildlife. The project provides meaningful inspiration for wider effort, and provides a well-managed base to launch extensions and linkages with other pest control initiatives. A grant through the community Environment Fund enabled the project to begin in 2015. By August that year new trap deployments had begun, with a ranger employed in January 2016 to manage the operational aspects of the project. Phase 1 of the project is now complete with over 2,904ha of land in established trapping. A further 1,146ha of trapping run by South Taranaki Forest & Bird and Taranaki Kiwi Trust creates a combined total of 4,050ha.

Phase 2 of the Halo Project (2018)

  • Focus on trap optimisation, where hardware will be shifted to target areas of higher pest densities based on analysis of current trap catch data. A review of the types of hardware used will be done
  • Focus on potential new hardware and technology
  • A broader scope of halo target species (wasps, goats, and pest plants)
  • Intensification of possum control
  • Biodiversity enhancement (waterways, ponds, and bush remnants) 
  • Growing the footprint (trapping more properties)