Rotokare Halo Project

 

The "Halo Effect" occurs when native species naturally spread from protected areas (like Rotokare, whose pest-free environment has boosted the numbers of animals surrounding it), ceating a 'halo' of greater biodiversity

With the completion of the pest-proof sanctuary fence and erradication of 12 mammalian pest species, trapping ensued around the outside of the fence, particularly around high risk areas such as the gates and culverts. This endeavour has highlighted the abundance of pest animals routinely active within millimeters of the pest-free sanctuary environment.

The Halo Project concept was developed by 2011. Our first priority to ensure the efficient provision of sustainable protection for overflowing wildlife. The project provides meaningful inspiration for wider effort and provides a well-managed base to launch extensions and linkages with other pest control initiatives. A grant through the Community Environment Fund enabled the project to begin in 2015. By August that year, new trap deployments had begun and a Halo Ranger was employed in January 2016 to manage the operational aspects of the project.

Phase 1 of the project is now complete, with over 2,904ha of land in established trapping. A further 1,146ha of trapping run by South Taranaki Forest & Bird and Taranaki Kiwi Trust creates a combined total of 4,050ha.

Phase 2 of the Halo Project (2018-20)

  • Focus on trap optimisation, shifting hardware to target areas of higher pest densities based on analysis of current trap catch data;
  • Review of the types of hardware used in the Halo;
  • Focus on potential new hardware and technology;
  • Introduce a broader scope of halo target species (wasps, goats, and pest plants); 
  • Intensify possum control; 
  • Enhance biodiversity in the Halo (by supporting restoration of waterways, ponds, and bush remnants) 
  • Grow Rotokare's Halo footprint (i.e. trap more properties)