Bringing back the birds
Ridgeline Adventures has a passion for sustainable tourism and is helping bring rare native birds back to Matukituki Valley in Wanaka.
"It's a view of the lake and valley that you can't really get anywhere else. Mark Orbell set up Ridgeline to be able to share these views and stories with everyone, and has a passion for sustainable tourism.
"It started more than four years ago when Orbell began purchasing native plants from Te Kakano – a community native plant nursery and, in association with Queenstown Lakes District Council and Te Kakano, began a planting programme on reserve land at the Mt Aspiring Lookout at Glendhu Bay.
"From there, he learned about the trapping programme in the Matukituki, and the plans among various local charitable trusts to set up a solid trap line along the length of the valley, and realised he could help out on his tours. Since the safaris at Ridgeline run on West Wanaka Station – the gateway to the valley – they could easily monitor and maintain the traps in the area while sharing the message of conservation and pest control with travellers passing through.
"I was lucky enough to join in one day, and help set up some of the new traps, and witnessed firsthand the effort that goes into helping bring back some of our native birds.
"Even though the trapline isn't finished yet, there has already been a noticeable increase in some rare native birds, with hopes to bring back others, like the bittern, yellowhead, kea, and the robin. The South Island Robin has already returned to the valley thanks to the traplin."