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Possum control operation to start near Tawa

Possum control operation to start near Tawa

Greater Wellington is establishing a possum control programme in the Spicer Block and the Forest of Tane near Tawa.

The programme, which begins on 18 February, will complement intensive possum control in Porirua Scenic Reserve, Pikarere Farm, Colonial Knob Scenic Reserve, Titahi Bay Peninsula and Redwood Bush in Tawa and help prevent possum migration between the existing control operations.

The control methods that will be used are predominantly Cholecalciferol cereal pellets dyed green (Decal), and Brodifacoum cereal pellets dyed blue, however in the initial stages potassium cyanide (Feratox), in dyed green pellets coated in peanut paste will be used in the plantation forest areas away from urban areas.

All bait will be dispensed from bait stations, secured high in trees out of reach of children and pets where ever possible. Decal pellets may also be dispensed in small blue plastic bags secured within a bait station.
"The programme will be of huge benefit to the area, as well as to neighbouring properties, enabling native trees to regenerate and fruit, providing food and a safe place for native birds to breed," says Greater Wellington Biosecurity Officer Gary Sue.

"Once possum numbers have decreased significantly we will follow up with a maintenance programme to keep them at low levels, which will involve refilling all existing bait stations with a slower acting toxin on a three monthly cycle," says Mr Sue.

Although every care is taken and the methods used present low levels of risk to the public and their pets, Mr Sue advises that care must be taken with young children and dogs.

"People should adhere carefully to precautions and warning signs in the treated areas. Do not touch or handle bait or bait stations and stay on formed tracks at all times. Warning signs will be posted at access points to all public land being treated," says Mr Sue.

Dogs most at risk are those that scavenge dead animals and are allowed to roam unsupervised. Mr Sue warns owners to keep their dogs on leads, stay on formed tracks and not to let them scavenge. "If dogs eat whole or part of a possum carcass or bait they should be taken to a vet immediately," he says.

If you suspect poisoning seek medical or veterinary help immediately. All vets, schools and other relevant organisations in the area have been notified of the operation.


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