Today we visited Glenfern Sanctuary, which arose from the passion and efforts of one man. Tony Bouzaid was a New Zealand businessman who made his fortune in the building industry, but he had a deep love for the natural world. In 1990, Bouzaid purchased an 83-hectare property on Great Barrier Island with the aim of turning it into a sanctuary for endangered species. As a child, he had spent time in Aotea and had memories of a cacophony of bird songs…which turned into silence because of deforestation. Tony poured his time, energy, and resources into the project, which eventually became the Glenfern Sanctuary. Bouzaid passed away in 2011, but his legacy lives on through the sanctuary, now run by Christine and Steve Clemow.
Our visit started with a talk in the lounge by Steve, who told us about the challenges of keeping unwanted species on the other side of the fence. Glenfern Sanctuary has managed to completely eliminate predators such as possums, mustelids, hedgehogs, and Norway rats. Their focus now is on keeping ship and kiore rats at low levels and preventing any cat incursions that could harm native species of birds and reptiles. To achieve this, Glenfern has over 40 km of trap lines and 800 traps that are monitored remotely. We disembarked to see the results of three decades of conservation efforts and spotted numerous piwakawakas, tuis, kākās, kererūs, and grey warblers. This was our third and last visit to Glenfern Sanctuary this season, but we are already looking forward to visiting this extraordinary place when National Geographic Orion returns to New Zealand next year.
Photographers: Rodrigo Moterani and Kelly Coursey-Gray