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OSPRI Works with Volunteers to Tackle Possums in Dunedin

OSPRI Works with Volunteers to Tackle Possums in Dunedin

OSPRI and the Landscape Connection Trust (LCT) are working together to reduce the numbers of possums in sensitive coastal areas near Dunedin.

After bovine TB was detected in herds in the Mt Cargill area, OSPRI contractors began possum control in areas where the LCT is already active, and recently helped a trap-setting operation between Pūrākaunui and Ravensbourne.
As well as the goal to eradicate TB, a key OSPRI strategic priority is to deliver on New Zealand’s predator free objective.

As part of this priority, a Memorandum of Understanding between OSPRI and the LCT established a project to support a possum trap network run by volunteers in the urban areas adjacent to Mt Cargill’s TB pest control work.

These are marked in green on the map.

OSPRI Programme Manager Brent Rohloff says: “Once OSPRI’s goal to eradicate TB from New Zealand is achieved, our pest control work will stop but we want the biodiversity benefits of our work to continue. This arrangement makes sure this happens.”

The LCT is a charitable trust with the goals of sustaining livelihoods, connecting people to the natural environment, enhancing ecosystem health, and protecting native plants and animals within the Beyond Orokonui area.

Both OSPRI and the LCT are members of the Predator Free Dunedin Group. OSPRI will support the LCT over the next three years. The project will begin in Pūrākaunui and Osborne with Waitati, Aramoana, Long Beach and Port Chalmers to Ravensbourne to follow. Already this month, 29 traps have been installed around Purakaunui, and more are being placed around Osborne.

Rhys Millar, Project Manager for the LCT says “For the last two years the LCT has been implementing coordinated pest control operations in the landscape surrounding Orokonui Ecosanctuary. Introduced mammalian pests are a major enemy of our native flora and fauna, predating on the likes of South Island kaka and South Island robin when they spread from Orokonui.

“OSPRI’s work to control possums is providing not only benefit to the agricultural sector but also enormous benefits to our biodiversity. Coordinating the efforts of the LCT and OSPRI ensures effective landscape control that crosses both urban and rural areas, benefiting our communities and our wildlife,” says Rhys.
Participation from local residents will be voluntary and the safety of children and pets will be paramount. Local residents can contact halocoordinator@gmail.com if they have any questions or are interested in taking part.

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