Rare and threatened species are often a challenge to take care of but when they're only known from a single location (so known as a point endemic), and when that site happens to be high up on a rock wall in an alpine mountain range then the job gets significantly harder.
Fortunately managing the threatened species and ecosystem processes of the Sinbad Gully, which stretches off to the west from the popular tourist site at Milford Sound is a job that now has vital support form the local community and business such as Southern Discoveries and the Fiordland Conservation Trust.
Despite this support the skinks are still in serious need of our help. Access to the site is expensive and requires helicopter time if we're needing to take in supplies. Once in the alpine cirque, the issues that challenge conservation of the skinks are by no means easily solved. Whilst we now have some effective tools for the landscape scale management of rats, stoats and possum in lowland forest systems we are only just beginning to understand the pest dynamics that drive the threats to our unique alpine species and ecology. The biggest challenge being that we are starting to realize that the humble mouse, introduced to New Zealand by Europeans, may be the biggest driver of pest impacts above the bushline and so far, we have no sustainable methods to control their populations in low altitude easily managed sites much less these high alpine environments.
This is a huge challenge for conservationists in New Zealand, but a vital issue for us to tackle to manage these unique and precious places and species. To learn more or help support us follow these links:
Filmed in haste on a little Canon s100, February 2013.
Edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 7.0.
No colour correction or further post production
Music by kind permission Waylon Thornton
Supporting caste and crew: the sandflies of northern Fiordland