Fencing - a steep learning curve?
Department of Conservation trainee rangers battled rain and steep, slippery conditions to erect vital predator control fence at the Tui Nature Reserve on April 23.
The Nelson-based trainees erected heavy posts which had been delivered to the isolated Otuhoto Peninsula on Waitata Reach by helicopter.
"Without doubt the trainees were on a mission to get the job done and after a day of slipping around on steep terrain the first 100m of fence is now in place," reserve owner Brian Plaisier said.
"The DOC Maud Island crew helped transport the trainees from Maud Island to Tui [Nature Reserve], which was much appreciated and the hard work from everyone was an inspiration.
"Hopefully we will see a new group of trainees back in the next school term," Brian said.
He said the fence was a vital tool in eradicating pests from the reserve where work to restore the unrivalled Marlborough Sounds native habitat began in 1994.
Designed to keep out large animals such as goats and deer, the fence will be backed up by a line of traps to capture stoats, rats and mice.
It is hoped pest numbers will drop far enough to allow the release of vulnerable native species such as the South Island robin which once flourished in the area.
"Restoration is in full swing with flowering trees and seeds welcomed by the returning birdlife," Brian said.
The group of department trainees was one of several groups to visit the reserve lately.
"There is growing interest in the reserve's activities from the wider community with many groups visiting the sanctuary to see progress for themselves.
A visit from Scots College students from Wellington was a huge success and the questions and feedback from the students were very valuable to the Tui Nature Reserve Wildlife Trust," Brian said.
Following on from this success, the trust is endeavouring to organise further school visits or visits from any other interested groups.