Thank you to all who attended the launch of our event, Ripple Effect, Burger Afloat for feeding us all, Lake Dunstan Boat Club for letting us use their newly renovated building and an extra big thank you to the amazing Anna Yeoman for presenting.
We were delighted to see so many people taking the time to learn about dryland ecosystems and lizard life. It was fascinating to explore how the area used to look, why we have lost so much of the original local habitat and how we can all do our bit to protect and improve lizard populations in the region and our own gardens.
For a summary of Anna's talk, Click 'Read more".
Lake Dunstan Charitable Trust’s first Ripple Effect had the pleasure of hosting Anna Yeoman, of Central Otago Ecological Trust, and the chance to learn about local dryland ecosystems, lizards and the work of Mokomoko Sanctuary. Thank you to Anna Yeoman for her amazing presentation, Burger Afloat for feeding the crowd and everyone who came along.
Before humans, Central Otago couldn't look more different from the vast expanse and tussock dominant landscape we see today. Dense forests of Totara, Kānuka, Matia, Kōwhai, Coprosmas and shrublands would have been commonplace. Burning for hunting and to ease travesersing the region along with the introduction of pastoralism and mammals has eradicated nearly all the ancient habitats. Plant species that survived the fires in remote areas soon recolonised the landscape and made it the grasslands we now know today.
This activity also resulted in the loss of species such as Moa and haast eagles with species like Kaka, Takahē, Wētā, Tuatara and kiwi no longer able to persist. Of the 124 species of lizard in NZ, 25 are found in Central Otago. All are threatened by fires, pests and development. There could have been up to 2,000 lizards per hectare in the region before humans and this would have provided a vital service to large bird populations and pollinating plants.
In 2005 the Central Otago Ecological Trust was formed to provide education and conservation opportunities and to reintroduce lost fauna to the Alexandra basin. The Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary was opened in 2018m where a 14 hectare pocket of dryland is now protected by a 1.6-kilometre predator-proof fence. Native plants and lizard populations are now thriving in safety. To learn more, visit www.mokomokosanctuary.com.
From keeping your cats indoors to creating a lizard garden, we can all do our bit to ensure these magnificent animals continue to make Central Otago to species haven it once was. Head online to learn how you can do your bit.
The next Ripple Effect is on Thursday 9th December at 6pm, Lake Dunstan Boat Club. Joining us will be Dawn Palmer and we will learn how Tucker Beach Wildlife Reserve is working to improve & maintain the breeding habitat for seasonal migratory birds in C.O. Also joining us will be Burger Afloat from 5:30pm till 8:30pm.