The Halfmoon Bay Habitat Restoration Project is SIRCET’s main project.
The project is about creating an open sanctuary in our extended backyard so that native wildlife can thrive. This pest management project extends from the township of Oban, Halfmoon Bay, out to Ackers Point. Volunteers are the backbone of this project, they are involved in trapping for animal pests, monitoring birds, weeding and re-vegetation work. This restoration project will ensure that our grandchildren will not need to visit a museum to see our treasured native birds, insects and lizards, but can live amongst wildlife as their ancestors did.
Objectives of the Halfmoon Bay Habitat Restoration Project
- To increase the native bird population around Halfmoon Bay by reducing predation and improving habitat quality.
- To provide a safe habitat for re-introduction and survival for Stewart Island species (both plants and animals) threatened with extinction.
- To increase the health of the forest around Halfmoon Bay.
- To educate and involve the community in conservation activities.
- To increase eco-tourism opportunities on the island.
- To help our community feel proud of its local environment.
- To help our children and adults learn about the environment and its protection.
The control of introduced pests in New Zealand is of vital importance to the survival of our native wildlife. SIRCET runs a pest control operation on a 210 hectare area in the Halfmoon Bay township. New Zealand’s wildlife evolved in isolation over the past 80 million years. This makes our flora and fauna both unique and vulnerable. Before humans arrived in New Zealand the only mammals here were two species of bat. The introduction by humans of mammals such as rats, possums and deer threatens New Zealand wildlife because our plants, birds, lizards and insects have not developed techniques of surviving alongside these mammals. New Zealand lost several endemic species to extinction before the seriousness of the threat was realised. Now, the control of mammalian pests is recognised to be essential to protecting our wildlife.
The Halfmoon Bay Habitat Restoration Project aims to protect and encourage the birds already in the township area, and eventually re-introduce those species that have disappeared from the area due to mammalian predators. To carry out its objectives, SIRCET carries out a pest control operation in a 210 hectare area from Golden Bay Road to Ackers Point.
An important part of our work is to understand what native wildlife we have within the Project area and to explore trends over time. We have several monitoring programs within this Project, including monitoring titi/sooty shearwater/muttonbird, little blue penguin, forest birds and night birds (Stewart Island tokoeka/kiwi, morepork/ruru and Stewart Island weka). We also monitor changes in vegetatation. Monitoring of Stewart Island tokoeka / kiwi, morepork/ruru and Stewart Island weka occred earlier in 2019. We have completed monitoring for 2019, check out results for titi and our forest bird monitoring.