Who we are

The Southern Lakes Sanctuary Trust that oversees this project is a consortium of six local groups that collectively represent 84 community groups, landowners, and businesses, who in turn have been working for many years to protect and restore the declining biodiversity of the Southern Lakes region. The consortium relies on the mahi of hundreds of committed and dedicated volunteers, throughout the district. Their tireless work, which has been quietly ploughing on for many years, is the foundation upon which the Southern Lakes Sanctuary is built. 

Consortium members

Forest & Bird, Central Otago Lakes Branch

The Central Otago-Lakes Branch of Forest and Bird established trapping lines in the Makarora valley in the late 1990s, to protect a small Mohua population. Since then, the trapping programme has expanded greatly, but remains a volunteer operation.  This work is undertaken under the Makarora Predator Control Operational Plan, a partnership between the Department of Conservation and Forest and Bird, developed in 2017 to protect and restore indigenous plants and fauna under threat in the Makarora valley.  The purpose, objectives, and milestones are still focussed on Mohua, with secondary goals of protecting other bush birds and remnant areas of mixed podocarp forest.

Matukituki Catchment Animal Pest Control Project

The Matukituki Catchment Animal Pest Control Project is a coalition of four community groups, nine landowners, and four local tourism businesses.  These groups run trap lines along or adjacent to almost the entire length of the Matukituki River.  This trapping encompasses a diverse range of habitats ranging from alpine snow tussock and beech forest in the West and East Matukituki, to braided river habitat adjacent to pastoral grassland in the lower reaches. 

Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust

Since 2013, the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust has taken up the challenge to protect a host of species in the Routeburn and Dart Valleys. In partnership with the Department of Conservation, tourism operators, the local community and generous sponsors, the trust runs multiple trap-lines near Glenorchy – from the valley floor to the alpine zone. Projects include protecting Rock Wren in the Harris Saddle and Hollyford Valley, trapping both sides of Lake Wakatipu to stop the invasion of hedgehogs and trapping in and around the Dart and Rees braided rivers to protect native river bird species.

SOHO Properties Ltd

Motatapu Station is one of four high country working sheep stations located west of Wānaka owned by Soho Property Ltd. The four properties are largely protected by way of QEII covenants established in 2015 which, combined with the Soho, Glencoe, and Coronet Peak Stations, comprises a 53,000 hectare area where natural values are protected in perpetuity.  The Covenants are known collectively as the Mahu Whenua Open Space Covenants. It is hoped that the long-term effect of the covenants will create an open country “national park” on land that historically would have been farmed (the land is crown owned pastoral lease). The Mahu Whenua programme is supported by a long-term vision for restored ecosystems and the recovery of biodiversity.  Restoration of habitat paired with predator control provides a comprehensive approach to the Station’s conservation programme. A predator control programme in the Motatapu and tributary valleys has been undertaken since October 2009.

Wānaka Backyard Trapping

Wānaka Backyard Trapping was formed by volunteers in early 2018 with the mission of protecting populations of local indigenous wildlife, through predator trapping and raising community awareness of the reasons why. Seven volunteer groups maintain traplines on public land from Wānaka to Hawea to Luggate around the shores of our lakes, rivers and lagoons. Our mission involves running education initiatives, workshops and events, to promote and support the local communities of the urban and peri-urban Upper Clutha basin to trap in their own backyards.

Whakatipu Wildlife Trust

The Whakatipu Wildlife Trust (WWT) was formed in 2017 at the request of both the Department of Conservation and the Queenstown Lakes District Council to serve as an umbrella organisation to connect, grow, and support the region’s predator-free efforts. The trust coordinates the efforts of over 40 trapping groups who are engaged in activities to help make the Queenstown Lakes District predator-free. It is our vision to encourage growth, to support the efforts of new groups and to help to educate the wider community on how we can all play a part in helping our native wildlife to flourish. The WWT serves as both a unified entity for the community trapping groups and also participates in larger wide-scale work such as the Southern Lakes Sanctuary.