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Good Results For Puketi Possum Control

25 May 2000


The Department of Conservation, Kerikeri, is reporting good results for the recently completed possum control operations at Puketi. Post-operation monitoring confirmed that possum numbers were significantly reduced, with a residual catch rate around 5%.

Department of Conservation, Programme Manager Possum Control, Mita Harris, commented: “ We are very pleased with the result. When the 2 performance based contractors commenced operations in November 1999, the possum density was high. We were averaging catch rates of around 10 – 20 %.”

According to Mr Harris, the last intensive possum control in this part of the forest had been carried out in 1994. This year’s operation involved the use of mainly1080 bait, laid over 6 blocks, totaling 2000 ha of forest. DOC’s aim was to complete the whole of Puketi and Omahuta within the next three years.

Mr Harris said “Contractors have refined their techniques for killing possums in the last few years. They use a combination of ground-based trapping and poisons like Cyanide and 1080. Contractors have also become experts at bush navigation and are methodically working through the bush, covering the whole terrain.

The use of poisons and other conservation issues are regularly discussed with Hapu and the general community. The consultation for the Puketi operation, which involved processes such as ongoing meetings, provision of information and visits to schools, had been very successful and DOC has support of local Hapu, the Piki Te Aroha Marae Committee.

Adrian Walker, Programme Manager Biodiversity, at the Department of Conservation, Kerikeri, added: “Contrary to popular belief, some toxins give us the ability to maintain lower pest densities, in particular possums and rats. It is interesting with respect to 1080, that in areas, where 1080 has been used for the longest time, we have the highest numbers of native birds.” He said the whole focus of DOC’s pest management Programme was on habitat recovery. “That is, when we look at a forest we consider the needs of not only the trees, but the birds and animals in it.”

Information is available on trapping and poisoning techniques from any DOC Office and the Northland Regional Council.


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