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Winning the battle against rats & possums

29 June 2005

Winning the battle against Sandspit's rats & possums

Over the past three years, a small, dedicated group of people has been battling rats and possums in the Sandspit area near Warkworth, and recent monitoring results show that they are winning their fight.

Members of the Sandspit Residents and Ratepayers Association became concerned at the number of animal pests plaguing the Sandspit area, and in 2002 formed a group to carry out a community-based control programme.
ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Deputy Chair and representative for Rodney Christine Rose says that the residents are reporting an increase in bird life in the area, as a result of the reduction of predation to nests, eggs and chicks.
"The Sandspit residents pest control programme results are excellent and helping to win the battle against rats and possums by providing a safer environment for native bird life to return to."

ARC Central Rodney Biosecurity Officer Rebecca Kemp says that with the support of the ARC's Biosecurity Team, the group had surveyed the problem, installed bait stations and monitored their progress over three years.

"The results have shown a marked decrease in the rat population, and possum damage has also been significantly reduced," she says.

"This has benefits for the wider area as birds range and breed in new safe enclaves," Cr Rose says.

"This is clear in the case of Tawharanui Regional Park where bird numbers have also increased."
Cr Rose says the full-scale pest control programme at nearby Tawharanui has illustrated the positive effect that controlling pests can have on bird life.

"Although the Tawharanui programme is still in its early days, it is already proving a success with the recent arrival of about 100 bellbirds and a significant increase in insect and reptile species. The hard work that has gone into eradicating pests from the park over the past year is beginning to pay off."

"People can also help create their own backyard habitat by planting native trees and trapping pests."


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