Few areas in New Zealand have the wide range of habitat types and the variety and richness of native species represented within the Southern Lakes Sanctuary.
A diverse landscape
The mountain, lake and river landscapes encompass an impressive array of significant ecosystems and habitats, including alpine areas up to and beyond the permanent snow line, tussock ranges, tracts of indigenous forest, braided riverbeds, dry grasslands, shrublands, wetlands, and large lakes. The climate within the project area ranges from low alpine humid to mild and semi-arid, encompassing all the major climatic zones of southern New Zealand.
High quality habitat
Most of the project area is classed as high quality habitat (overall >30% indigenous cover) that is well protected (overall >20% protected). It includes significant parts of Tititea/Mt Aspiring National Park and is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.
Hubs and Corridors
Predator control within the Sanctuary is currently focussed on seven core areas or Project Hubs, where the consortium partners work: the catchments of the Makarora, Matukituki, Motutapu, Cardrona and the Dart-Rees-Greenstone rivers, and the basins surrounding Queenstown-Arrowtown and Wānaka-Hāwea.
In addition to intensifying work within these hubs and connecting them via corridors, at least one new hub at the Richardson Mountains will be established in the next few years.