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Ground-based methods control possums in rural Dunedin

Media Release
10 September 2013

Ground-based methods control possums in rural Dunedin

Ground control work is being undertaken in the rural outskirts of Dunedin to reduce the risk of bovine tuberculosis (TB) infected possums spreading the disease to cattle and deer herds.

Either hand-laid toxins or traps will be used to control the possum population, depending on which method is preferred by affected land occupiers in the area.

Local contractors are currently consulting with land occupiers on the most appropriate control method for their property.

The operational area includes a number of lifestyle properties, commercial forestry and the Invermay AgResearch facility.

The planned operation covers some 1800 hectares of the Wingatui, Abbots Hills, Halfway Bush and Silver Stream areas near Mosgiel. Work began earlier this month and is due to finish in late December.

Ground control work last took place in the area around four years ago and was extremely successful in lowering possum densities.

However, surveys have shown that possum numbers have increased to a level where they pose a risk of spreading the disease to nearby cattle and deer herds.

Scientific evidence indicates that possums are responsible for about 70 per cent of new herd infections in TB risk areas.

TBfree New Zealand Southern South Island Programme Manager Brent Rohloff said ground-based control methods are suited for use within this semi-developed rural community.

“Due to the number of land occupiers in the operational area, it is particularly important that we thoroughly discuss which control method is best-suited for use on their property and the surrounding area,” said Mr Rohloff.

“We have a range of techniques on offer, including encapsulated cyanide in bait stations and bait bags, or traps,” he said. 

Warning signs will be erected in the operational area, stating that hand-laid toxins or traps are being used to control bovine TB in the surrounding possum population.

ENDS

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