VISION AND GOALS
To provide a vermin-proof wildlife sanctuary for indigenous species that will be a centre for conservation education.
- To build a dam and create a wetland habitat.
- To replant the area, sourcing plants from local region to ensure biodiversity and to source rare plants that are under pressure in the wild.
- To build and maintain a pest-proof fence around the Sanctuary.
- To eliminate all mammalian pests within the fence and to also eliminate all pervasive non-indigenous plants.
- To provide a safe haven for native birds, frogs, reptiles, insects and other indigenous biota.
- To build paths and access for visitors to visit our wildlife haven.
- To construct a building that will house educational material.
- To provide an interactive educational programme in the Sanctuary.
- To provide a safe place on the Coromandel Peninsula for the release of injured and rare species, across the indigenous biotic spectrum.
- To install suitable sculptures that will attract visitors and enhance wildlife values.
In the first five years with the help of grants, donations and volunteer time, the following goals have been realised:
- The boundary is fenced to a vermin-proof state.
- A Landscape Plan has been developed.
- Required land consents were granted and a stream has been dammed to create a significant pond and wetland.
- A fish passage to the dam has been created.
- The boundary was fenced to a stock-proof state.
- The area has been completely planted with some 7000 native trees and shrubs.
- A weed and pest eradication project has been successfully put into action.
- A walking track system has been developed of some 800 metres in length.
- Two bridges have been constructed for visitor access, as well as boardwalks.
- Land protection has been ensured under a QEII covenant.
GOALS TO BE ACHIEVED IN NEXT FIVE YEARS
- To design and build an appropriate building to be an interpretive conservation education centre.
- To set up an interactive education programme in the Sanctuary, which is adjacent to the Coromandel Peninsula's greatest tourist attraction, the Driving Creek Railway.
The project has a range of benefits at a local, regional and national level. The Sanctuary will be a best-practice environmental educational centre showing a successful pest-proof fence in action.
Coromandel is known for its "green" image yet this is the only fully predator-proof sanctuary on the Peninsula where international and national visitors, school children and others with specific interests in conservation can enjoy New Zealand's natural heritage. Here they can get a true indication of how things could be without the damage that predators inflict. They will be able to access educational material and take part in interactive activities, e.g. guided walks with well known botanists and conservationists, Rongoa workshops and lectures.
Because the sanctuary is adjacent to Driving Creek Railway, which is visited by more than forty thousand people a year (around half of them New Zealanders) we are hopeful a good number of these people will choose to visit our Sanctuary.
It will also be an inspiration to land owners both nationally and locally as to what even a small area of pest-free bush restoration can achieve. Because the Sanctuary is only 1. 6 hectares, it is on a small enough scale for ordinary people to realise what they can do in their own little patch by using pest eradication methods. Its smaller size means that patrolling the fence by our caretaker is regular and thorough.
It is also an opportunity for people to see and understand what a predator-proof fence is and how it works.
Although in terms of species restoration the size of the Sanctuary is very small on its own, there is a growing commitment to predator control in the Coromandel town area and beyond. (For instance, our neighbour Driving Creek Railway has sixty hectares of regenerating native bush with a pest eradication programme by poison baiting). Other species restoration projects are already happening throughout the Coromandel (pateke at Port Charles, kiwi at Kuaotunu, Whenuakite and Moehau) but there is nowhere on the Peninsula where people can actually go into a completely protected area and get a true indication of how things could be without the damage that predators inflict. Put in the context of these other environmental projects taking place in the Coromandel area, the Sanctuary becomes the only absolutely safe haven for all the endangered species in the local area. The Sanctuary is already attracting birds; a pair of breeding pateke (brown teal) has set up residence and has hatched 5 clutches of ducklings with 18 surviving. It should also be seen as a safe nursery for the raising of endangered native fauna to be released into other larger conservation areas.
The Driving Creek Wildlife Sanctuary will benefit the local DoC, who will use it to release injured birds before returning them to the wild. They have also chosen the Sanctuary to relocate and monitor for instance the Coromandel Striped Gecko of which only six have ever been found.