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

 

Conservation Dept wins award for rat eradication

Department of Conservation wins award for rat eradication

The Department of Conservation won an innovation award yesterday (14 October) for the eradication of rats from Campbell Island.

DOC’s win in the Management of Innovation category and commendation in the Central Government category of the BearingPoint Innovation Awards 2003 for the Campbell Is project were announced yesterday (14 October) at a ceremony in Wellington, attended by Prime Minister Helen Clark.

“On the face of it, eradicating rats from a 11,300 ha island, a five-hour helicopter flight south of Invercargill in sub-antarctic winter conditions, was Mission Impossible,” DOC director–general Hugh Logan said today (October 15), on receiving the award.

“Rat eradication had never been done at such an inhospitable site, and a potentially dangerous one for helicopter pilots. We achieved it with careful planning, risk management, engineering and applying technology to an exacting level of detail.”

A world heritage site, Campbell Is had been home to Norway rats for the last 200 years. Their removal in winter 2001 has already benefited conservation of the island’s native plants and animals, in particular endangered albatross and other seabird species. In May this year, a survey confirmed no trace of rats on Campbell Island.

Ensuring an even and lethal spread of baits throughout the island during the optimal winter period - when rats are hungry, not breeding, and seabirds absent – was five years in planning and budgeted at more than $2.5 million.

Prototype rat eradications at Kapiti Island and at Codfish Island made during the planning period, as well as bait design modifications and refinement of bait spreading hoppers, improved the chances of success, Mr Logan said.

World class helicopter work during the operation was a key success factor, Mr Logan said.

“The five pilots risked their lives flying their craft 700km to Campbell Island – we offset the risks as far as we could with detailed monitoring of weather conditions.”

Dyed non-toxic baits laid at half the normal poisoning density of 6kg a hectare confirmed that all rats in a 600 ha test area ate baits. That, and avoiding the normally-undertaken back-up bait laying operation, allowed DOC to ratchet down the bait dosage to 25 per cent of that used at Kapiti Island.

That done, two helicopters shifted 120 tonnes of baits from a ship moored offshore onto the island and the other three flew bait spreading missions during gaps in storms and long periods of low blanketing cloud cover. It took a month, one-third of the time budgeted, thanks to better than expected weather conditions.

Overlapping of bait drops were built into the project, based on likely movement of rats between bait drops.

Until Campbell Island, rodents were regarded as impossible to eradicate from all but relatively small areas because they can learn to avoid baits and traps, develop resistance to poisons and they breed very quickly. It takes only one pregnant female escaping a poisoning operation to repopulate an island.

New Zealanders – internationally-recognised world leaders in pest control - are currently running pest eradication programmes at locations such as Australia, Mauritius, the Seychelles, St Paul, and the Falkland Islands.

Based on the Campbell Is experience, DOC has mounted a multi-species eradication project on Raoul Island in the Kermadec Islands north of New Zealand, now nearing completion.

Mr Logan said the $1000 cheque awarded to DOC would be used for an innovation award within the department.

Helicopter companies participating in the Campbell Is project were: Peter Garden Helicopters Ltd (Gore), Southern Lakes Helicopters Ltd (Te Anau), Helicopters Otago, Wanganui Aeroworks, Heliworks Queenstown.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On What Triggered The Carnage In Gaza

At last count, 195 Palestinians have reportedly died in the latest round of violence, 55 of them children. Roughly ten times that number have been wounded, and thousands made homeless. On the Israeli side, 8 people have died from rockets fired from Gaza. The imbalance in casualties reflects the vast gap in weaponry between the two sides. The Israelis are carrying out air strikes with impunity on densely populated civilian neighbourhoods... More>>

 

Budget 2021: Boosts Carbon Neutral Government Commitment

· Budget 2021 delivers $67.4 million to support the transition to a carbon neutral public sector by 2025 · State Sector Decarbonisation Fund receives significant boost to support more schools, hospitals and other government organisations to replace ... More>>

Government: To Rev Up Reductions In Transport Emissions

The Government is calling for feedback on a range of potential policies to eliminate emissions in the transport sector. Transport Minister Michael Wood today released Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi - Transport Emissions: Pathways to ... More>>

KiwiSaver: Default Provider Scheme Improvements Slash Fees, Boosts Savings

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders will be significantly better off in retirement following changes to the default KiwiSaver scheme, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said today. More>>

ALSO:

Child Poverty: Reports Highlight Need For Ongoing Action

The Government has released the first Annual Report for the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and the second Child Poverty Related Indicators (CPRI) Report, both of which highlight improvements in the lives of children as a result of actions of the Government, ... More>>

ALSO:

PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Parliament: Mallard Fails To Give Taxpayers A Straight Answer

Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels