A trial to see how well different predator proof fence designs cope with the extreme weather conditions experienced in the project area is underway in the Two Thumbs range.
Three different sections of fence, designed by Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) have been constructed. Two fence sections are 1.1m high and use different construction techniques, either T irons or posts. The third is 1.8m high. All fences have been fitted with a metal cap intentionally facing into the prevailing wind and each is covered with welded mesh donated by Christchurch company UMC Machinery.
The fences were erected in June, before the winter snow arrived. A dedicated weather station and camera is recording local conditions. So far, the highest winds recorded have been 197km per hour but we expect to see gusts in excess of 300kmph over spring.
Another fence is being trialled as part of the robust grasshopper predator free enclosure. Should the larger Te Manahuna Aoraki project proceed a predator proof fence may be used to prevent reinvasion on the southern boundary so this trial will provide valuable information. Natural mountain barriers will be used to protect the project area on other fronts.
Thanks to Guy and Jackie Simpson of Mt Hay Station for their help and support with this project and Pest Proof Fences Ltd for constructing the fence.