Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


DOC to protect species at risk from predator plague

Media release

29/1/14

Embargoed until 8 pm

DOC to protect species at risk from predator plague

The Department of Conservation is preparing a major new pest control campaign to protect vulnerable native species from an expected surge in rat and stoat numbers later this year.

Climatic conditions have prompted an unusually heavy forest flowering this summer across both islands. The flowering is particularly prominent in South Island beech trees.

DOC scientists predict the bumper seed fall resulting from this “masting” event will fuel rapid increases in rat and stoat numbers putting vulnerable populations of rare birds, bats and other species like threatened snails at high risk in the coming spring.

Director-General Lou Sanson says DOC has identified South Island forest sites with high risk populations and will be closely monitoring these areas in coming months for early signs of rapidly rising predator numbers.

He says similar conditions fourteen years ago drove rat and stoat levels to plague proportions and decimated South Island populations of rare species such as mōhua/yellowhead and kākāriki karanga/orange fronted parakeet.

“If predator trigger levels are reached again this year, we are ready to significantly extend our South Island aerial and ground-based protection operations as part of a “Battle for our Birds” campaign.

Lou Sanson says DOC teams are targeting extra protection this year for both mōhua and kākāriki along with at risk populations of kiwi, whio/blue duck, kea, kaka, rock wren, giant land snails and native bats.

“Field staff will be closely watching the seed fall and rat tracking results from  these key sites over the next few months.”

“We need to be ready to act quickly to knock back rat or stoat numbers before they overwhelm birds which are particularly vulnerable during the spring nesting season.”

Lou Sanson says DOC will be prepared to provide additional aerial 1080 protection over about half a million extra hectares of public conservation land in the South Island.

“We’re concerned that our existing trap and ground based networks will get overwhelmed if predator numbers rise rapidly. Our best, and fastest, option for protection over large tracts of rugged bush is using biodegradable 1080 baits by air.”

Lou Sanson says DOC will also be supporting this year’s planned “beech mast” response by increasing its maintenance level of aerial 1080 operations  over five years.

“Pest control is relentless  – we may not be able to eliminate the threat but we can increase the level of protection we provide.”

“Without protection, for example, kiwi are expected to disappear from the wild within two human generations — we need to act to give our native species a fighting chance.”

Maps detailing the vulnerable species to be protected and sites identified for potential aerial 1080 operations for 2014/15 along with a simple graphic illustrating the impacts of a beech mast are available at www.doc.govt.nz/battleforourbirds


Click for big version.

A short video explaining the impact of a beech cycle on predators and native species is also available at: http://youtu.be/fpwl36QUq60
For further information contact Rory Newsam 04 4713104 or 027 295 3809

Background: 

• DOC manages about 8.7 million hectares of public conservation land.
 
• The biodegradable poison 1080 is currently applied by air by DOC and TBfree NZ to control possums, rats and stoats on a total of about 440 000 hectares of public conservation land. This represents about 5 percent of all public conservation land.
 
• If required, DOC’s aerial 1080 response to this year’s South Island beech mast threat would increase by about 500 000 hectares and this together with TBfree NZ’s planned programme would result in a total of about a  million hectares of public conservation land being treated with aerial 1080 in 2014/15. This represents about 12 percent of all public conservation land.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Education: Schools Funded To Trial Innovative Approaches

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced the successful applicants for a new $10 million fund to encourage innovative teaching practices. “I’m delighted with the quality of the 39 projects that have won funding in the first round of the Teacher-led Innovation Fund worth a total of about $2.6 million,” says Ms Parata. More>>

ALSO:

Generation Zero: Skypath Granted Resource Consent

Generation Zero is delighted and relieved that the ‘Skypath’ walking and cycling addition to the Harbour Bridge has been granted resource consent. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Two New Auckland Special Housing Areas

Two new greenfield Special Housing Areas (SHAs) that will provide up to 1800 new homes in Auckland have been announced today by Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith and Mayor Len Brown. More>>

ALSO:

Royals: The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall To Visit

Prime Minister John Key welcomes today’s announcement that the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit New Zealand in November. This will be the second joint visit for Their Royal Highnesses to New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Tracey Martin Replaced: Ron Mark Is New New Zealand First Deputy Leader

Clayton Mitchell was the successful candidate for the Associate Whip position. Winston Peters was re-elected as Leader by the Caucus. Ron Mark was elected as the Deputy Leader with effect from 10am, Friday, 3rd July. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuild Rebrand: "Regenerate Christchurch" To Replace CERA

The regeneration of Christchurch will be the city’s focus for the next five years as local leadership progressively takes control of the rebuild, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

ALSO:

Nauru: Scholars Urge Minister To Act On Deteriorating Democracy

“Since the 2013 election in Nauru, there has been a series of disturbing developments on the islands that indicate a severe deterioration in the state of its parliamentary democracy and in the rule of law,” say the scholars. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news