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Published: 2001-11-15 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is now targeting the Acacia Bay/ Wairakei area for a pest blitz.

As possum control operations are winding down in the East Taupo/Reporoa area, attention will be shifted to the other side of the Waikato River. Annual possum control is part of the National Bovine Tuberculosis programme, and will be undertaken by local firm, Epro Ltd.

A team of eight staff from Taupo will begin this work early this month to tackle the ferret and possum problem in the area. The job is expected to take six to eight weeks and will have a heavy emphasis on public awareness. Limited amounts of toxins will be used, and most of the operation would be undertaken with humane kill traps or leg hold traps.

Epro operational manager Ian Roberts said the aim of the work was to keep possum and ferret numbers very low so the Taupo area can achieve official freedom from Tb. Any areas where new plants and trees were showing evidence of possum damage would be targeted. High public use areas, like the Wairakei Tourist Park, would be treated with bait stations and anti coagulant toxins to minimise any possible risk to pets. Wide scale use of leg hold traps will be used in stock free areas.

Possum control work on farmland from Acacia Bay to Kinloch will also be done as follow-up to the successful winter 1080 aerial control operation on Taupo’s lakeshore reserves.

Mr Roberts said there was ample evidence of new growth in bush on the lake shore reserve, which was positive sign of low possum numbers and healthy forest. All toxins would be dyed green and warning signs erected in areas being treated.