West Harbour Halo - Residents Survey

In May we sent out a West Harbour Halo - Residents Survey. We were interested in hearing your thoughts on biodiversity restoration and trapping in urban areas around West Harbour. We will update you soon on this information.

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Rhys Millar
Monitoring the effects of trapping
 Inky hedgehog footprints.

Inky hedgehog footprints.

This autumn we’ve started up a monitoring programme in the Inner Halo, to gain a measure of the effectiveness of our predator control over time. The project involves a network of tracking tunnels and chew cards, which we can use to estimate pest population sizes by looking at what proportion have footprints or chew marks left behind by the pests. The lines will be checked four times a year, and are in three habitat types: native forest, exotic forest (pines) and pasture. In this very first check of these lines, we’ve seen a lot of rodent and hedgehog prints in particular, which matches what we’re seeing in our traps – ship rats and hedgehogs are the two most commonly caught predators. Being able to report on how our trapping programme is performing is an important part of making sure we’re catching as many of the predators as possible.

Rhys Millar
Halo Project progress update

The Halo Project has now been operational for 15 months! There are 15 community groups engaged so far, made up of 70 keen volunteers who regularly head out to check traps. We’ve got trapping networks across two thirds of the 3’900 ha Inner Halo area – we’ve nearly got Orokonui Ecosanctuary surrounded. So far we’ve caught over 270 pests, the highest catches being ship rats, hedgehogs and stoats. Full steam ahead!

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   Halo Project trapping networks around Orokonui Ecosanctuary (centre of map). The numbers indicate how many traps are in that area.

Halo Project trapping networks around Orokonui Ecosanctuary (centre of map). The numbers indicate how many traps are in that area.

Rhys Millar
Kaka sightings - we want to hear from you!

The Halo Project and Orokonui Ecosanctuary are interested in finding out where the kaka that leave the ecosanctuary are going, and what they get up to. Maybe you live in a kaka ‘hotspot’ where they visit often, or have seen them flying by regularly. Kaka normally nest from October - March and we are interested in knowing if you’ve seen any related activity outside the ecosanctuary. If you’ve seen kaka flying about, please get in touch with any answers to these questions:

1)  Have you seen or heard kaka near your house?

a.     If yes, how many?

b.     How often have you spotted them? Recently?

c.     Individuals are identified with bands around their legs called colour bands, have you noticed any? *Record the left foot top band first then the bottom band and repeat on the right foot.

d.     Do you have any interesting observations of kaka behavior outside of Orokonui Ecosanctuary (e.g. mutual feeding, mating, or nesting behavior)?

2)  Do you have fruit trees near your house? Or other trees that the kaka feed at? Do you feed them?

3)  Do you have any traps (Halo Project or private) near you?

Respond in any way that works for you... Thank you!

-       Email us at kaka.haloproject@gmail.com

-       Check us out on NatureWatch under kaka_haloproject

-       Find us on Facebook @beyondorokonui

-      Or post in your answers to PO Box 1320, Dunedin

Rhys Millar
Lizard monitoring in the Halo
 A southern grass skink found under a lizard monitoring retreat.

A southern grass skink found under a lizard monitoring retreat.


This spring we started a Halo lizard monitoring project, to find out how the lizard populations in the Inner and Outer Halo are doing, and how much predator control is needed to protect lizards. Monitoring lines of artificial lizard retreats have been set up in areas with and without predator control, and will be checked throughout summer by dedicated volunteers. Lizards that might use these retreats for basking and protection are the southern grass skink (which can often been seen around the Halo scuttling through long grass) and the rock-loving korero gecko. Hopefully we might also find some less common skink species! We plan to repeat this project each summer, to track how lizards respond to our trapping efforts, and to learn what level of predator control benefits lizards. A big thanks to Jo Monks from DOC for her trusty advice, and to the landowners who are kindly hosting these monitoring lines.

Rhys Millar
How safe is my Cat?

We decided to test how safe domestic cats are around traps. Have a look at our video to learn about the findings. 

Rhys Millar