Arrowtown’s Bush Creek is set to witness a significant leap in possum trapping efforts, thanks to a generous $90,000 donation from local businessman and philanthropist Sir Michael Hill and his family.
The funds have been entrusted to the Southern Lakes Sanctuary (SLS), a prominent conservation organisation, to enhance its predator-control initiatives.
The donation will support the installation of 60 state-of-the-art New Zealand-made AT 220 predator-control traps in the Bush Creek catchment area this summer. These traps are equipped with AI cameras and remote monitoring systems, adding a technological edge to the ongoing conservation efforts.
Sir Michael Hill expressed enthusiasm for supporting a project that contributes significantly to enhancing the natural environment.
"We look forward to helping the Southern Lakes Sanctuary continue this incredible work for years to come," he says.
The Hill family has also extended their support by making their private golf course, The Hills, available to SLS for hosting a fundraising golf day on April 22.
SLS, one of New Zealand’s largest conservation organisations, operates as a consortium of six groups representing 84 community groups, landowners, and businesses. The organisation focuses on increasing biodiversity, controlling predators, and safeguarding the native species of the Southern Lakes region.
Paul Kavanagh, the project director at SLS, expressed immense gratitude to the Hill family for their contribution, emphasising that the trapping network's scale and achievements wouldn't have been possible without their generous support.
Kavanagh highlighted the positive impact on native trees and wildlife in the Bush Creek area.
"With the removal of so many possums and rats, we know that the future for native trees and wildlife is a whole lot brighter."
Recognising the critical role of technological advancements, Kavanagh stressed the importance of SLS's expertise in deploying automatic traps. He highlighted the cost-effectiveness of these traps over traditional methods, emphasising the long-term returns on investment.