The Dunedin, South Otago and Southland branches are joining efforts to conduct large scale conservation in and around Tautuku, in the Catlins.
In 1964, Forest & Bird purchased 550ha of land in the Tautuku region with funds be-quested from the estate of Mrs I Lenz. This land, known today as the Lenz Reserve, consists predominantly of regenerating kamahi/rimu/rata forest. It is situated centrally in the combined Fleming and Tautuku River catchments, in the Catlins.
There is a historic trails tractor, walking tracks for visitors and the Tautuku Forest Cabins provide on-site accommodation.
Conservation beyond the reserve boundaries
A recent, long-term Forest & Bird multi-branch focus is to increase introduced predator control within the reserve and extend this to establish landscape scale predator control in the combined Tautuku and Fleming catchments to encompass an area of 6600ha. This area is already recognized for its ecological values, boasting a variety of habitats from coastal dunes through to upland forest, including wetlands and fresh water catchments. Native species including red and yellow-crowned kakariki, rifleman, long finned eel, long-tailed bat and forest geckos are still present within the area. Additionally the upper reaches of both the Fleming and Tautuku Rivers are free of introduced trout and support high densities of one of New Zealand's threatened non migratory galaxid fish. Others such as whio, kaka, South Island robin are no longer found.
The wider landscape scale project involves working alongside a variety of stakeholders, including the local community, Iwi, DoC, OSPRI and private landowners. Introduced predator control is implemented via a combination of methods to ensure the successful control of all introduced mammals in a manner supported by landowners.
Over time the project will grow to enable the enhancement of the native species still present and the re-introduction of certain threatened endemic species no longer found in the Catlins.
How you can help
Community conservation awareness will be increased through active involvement and publicity. If you would like to be involved in this ambitious conservation project and have your name added to our volunteer list, we look forward to hearing from you.
The Tautuku Restoration Project is supported by the Speights Brewery and Forest & Bird Grants for Nature. Here’s a look at the lovely birds you may encounter in the area.