11 July 2023
We are pleased to share that the fence modification in preparation for kākāpō is complete! Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari has been working for a number of years with The Department of Conservation's Kākāpō Recovery Group to bring kākāpō to the maunga.
Kākāpō are amongst the rarest birds in the world, with just 248 in existence. Currently, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari offers the only potential mainland site suitable for kākāpō and will provide much-needed habitat for the growing kākāpō population.
Trials of a barrier to stop kākāpō from climbing out of the pest-proof fence started in 2010. Several prototypes were trialed until a suitable solution was found. With the support of iwi, our community, and generous funders, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari was able to secure the funding needed to modify the fence. Twelve years after trials began, and after 8 months of hard work, the final version has been installed around the mountain. Led by Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari's Assets and Operations Team, over 30 people have assisted in the completion of this project.
Modifying the fence has involved purchasing over 10,000 custom made steel brackets, making over 10,000 steel shrouds to go around fence posts, and custom fitting a heavy load lifter to two utes. The final task involved individually measuring each section of fence to the nearest 5mm, and then cutting and fixing a 380mm high colour steel sheet to it. Over 50 pedestrian and vehicle gates have also had sheet steel added to them to make them kākāpō-proof. Up to 4 teams of rangers working simultaneously and over 400 volunteer hours have led to the completion of this installation work in one of the wettest summers to date.
Cyclone Gabrielle and the unusually wet weather certainly made things challenging, not to mention the added difficulty of several sections of fence only being accessible on foot.
Congratulations to all of those involved in bringing this kākāpō fence modification project to fruition. Preparing the maunga for kākāpō is another outstanding example of what can be accomplished through collaboration between iwi, DOC, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari staff, landowners, volunteers and our supporters.