From the beech forest shorelines of Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri to the tussock ridge lines of the alpine section, the Kepler Track is home to numerous native bird species. Whether it’s the cheeky kea or the inquisitive robin, the birdlife on the Kepler is under threat of predation by stoats and rats. To counter these threats the Trust and Organising Committee have made a commitment to donate a proportion of every runner’s entry fee to maintain a network of traps along the track.

Kepler Challenge trapping makes a difference

With over 385 traps the full length of the Kepler Track, plenty of rats and stoats are being prevented from destroying our birds. Checked every month by teams of volunteers, the trapping programme ensures that the survival of species such as the blue duck (whio), kiwi, kea, robins, rifleman is greatly enhanced. Since trapping began over 3,000 rats and 900 stoats have been dealt to.

Part of a bigger picture

The traps along the Kepler track are just part of a bigger picture when it comes to reducing the impact of pests such as stoats and rats on our native bird species. The Kepler Backyard Bird Song,  an alliance between the Fiordland Conservation Trust, Kids Restore the Kepler, DOC and the Kepler Challenge, aims to control pests in a 3000ha block of the Kepler. Over time the dawn chorus is slowly being restored to what it used to be.

All the indications are that the trapping programmes are making a difference as the numbers of birds being seen and heard on the Kepler Track have been increasing. So when you are out running keep your eyes and ears open for all those natives along the Track.


If you would like to contribute towards the trapping programme either by volunteering or making a donation, please contact us at