New partnership pairs fine wine with conservation

A view of Resolution Island's Acheron Passage from Mt Clerke. PHOTO: Supplied

The Department of Conservation and Peregrine Wines have announced a new partnership to help protect New Zealand’s rarest species in its remotest locations.

The first project in the partnership, launched today, will see six new trap lines set in Dusky Sound's Resolution Island, intensifying the island's network of almost 3000 traps.

Peregrine Wines CEO Fraser McLachlan said the aim was to remove any remaining stoats in the north-east corner of the island, as well as intercept any that swam across from the mainland.

“This will allow vulnerable native species, such as tīeke/saddleback to be returned to this part of the island," said Fraser.

“And if we remove stoats from Resolution Island altogether, well, the sky’s the limit.”

Resolution Island has no rats or possums, and stoats are maintained to very low numbers due to an ongoing and extensive trapping programme.

DOC operations manager in Te Anau Greg Lind said the 21,000ha island's size and remoteness made it an ideal potential breeding sanctuary for a wide variety of highly endangered native species.

“Removing stoats from the island could pave the way for the reintroduction of threatened species such as tīeke/saddleback and kākāpō, as well as allowing current populations of mohua/yellowhead, kea, kiwi and rock wren to flourish.”

DOC principal ranger for biodiversity, Lindsay Wilson, said the department's new partnership with Peregrine Wines meant it was a quarter of the way to their goal of adding an additional 28 new trap lines to the island.  

They claim achieving and maintaining a stoat-free status for Resolution Island would be a significant step toward realising New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 ambition.

Peregrine Wines is family owned, organic wine producer based in Central Otago. Previous Fiordland conservation projects undertaken by Peregrine Wines include tīeke transfers to Chalky (2008) and Bauza (2010) Islands, and a mohua transfer to Resolution Island in 2011.

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