Dave and I on the island

During the recess I was over on Secretary Island checking out DoC’s efforts to make it a bird sanctuary (click the photos for larger images).

Secretary Island is a steep island of some 8200 hectares at the mouth of Doubtful Sound in Fiordland.

In the last century it has been colonised by stoats and red deer both of whom have swum at least the minimum distance of some 960 metres and sometimes further by island hopping.  The stoats have made a living predating on native birds and the deer have significantly modified the flora with severe grazing pressure.

Last year only a handful a stoats were caught in the 3200 traps that are set in an ordered track network on the island.  Near points on the mainland are covered with a matrix of traps and poison as are likely landing points for any swimming expedition.

Six hundred and sixty four deer have been destroyed by a mixture of ground shooting, helicopters and some in traps (deer pens).  There are about seven deer remaining.  DNA samples indicated that the current population are descended from not more than 10 animals!

The work is progressing, and it is a beautiful part of the country.  Here’s some Doubtful Sound shots for any Southlanders pining for the fjords…

Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound 2

Doubtful Sound 3