Our Conservation story

Discover how our conservation efforts are bringing life back to the forest

Scroll down to read about our conservation efforts and the journey we have taken to transform the forest. 

It’s the pre-historic native forest that makes the Canopy Tours experience so unique. Since 2012, the company has been restoring the centuries of neglect that had befallen this beautiful corner of New Zealand.

Back in 2012, Dansey Road Scenic Reserve was home to thousands of possums and rats that had taken over the ancient native forest. Our native species were not doing very well, the forest was silent and possums had damaged and stripped the trees bare.

Only 5 out of 100 New Zealand native birds will make it to adulthood due to introduced pests like rats and stoats!

We started our trapping programme in 2013 after raising $35,000 from Canopy Tours. 1,100 manual possum and rat traps were purchased and placed out into 10% of the 500ha forest. Within a couple of weeks over 800 animals were caught and the birds and insects slowly started returning to this safe area of the forest. Our conservation efforts were working!

Approximately 26 million New Zealand native birds are killed each year by these pests.

In 2015 we decided Goodnature automated traps were the way to go and we replaced all of the old manual traps. This proved incredibly successful.

The Department of Conservation was also highly impressed with our progress and public enthusiasm for the project, and in late 2015 they came on board to help from the new Canopy Conservation Trust.

A portion of what each customer pays to come on a Canopy Tour goes directly back in to the conservation of the forest!

We had some amazing finds in early 2016, including a rare striped skink and pacific geckos hanging out on our tree top platforms.

The distinctively marked striped skink is one of New Zealand’s least known and rarely seen lizards so it was an incredible find at Canopy Tours!

The bird chorus is strong and the population of native species is increasing everyday. The trees that were stripped bare are on the road to recovery, and the results are nothing short of outstanding.

Tourism has restored this forest and our customers are taken not only on an adventure they never forget – but a conservation journey that sticks with them long after the thrill of the final zipline.

See the results:
These pictures below – show the results of the efforts we have made over the past five years. 2012 (below left) compared to the healthy lush forest we enjoy today (2018, below right). Both photos were taken in the exact same spot!

Our hope is that one day soon we will have the whole forest (500ha) under pest control and will be able reintroduce rare native birds, and have safe breeding conditions to restore the eco-system to one similar to that of pre-human times. Click here to learn more about the native birds you could see on tour with Canopy Tours!

Learn a little more about conservation at Rotorua Canopy Tours from Director, James Fitzgerald!

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