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Published: 2002-09-24 00:00:00

Possums in bush in Waingaro near Ngaruawahia have been hit hard by recent control operations undertaken by landowners involved in a community possum control scheme.

The scheme covers 4,800 ha and includes 38 landowners.

Before the operation began more than 40 possums were caught for every 100 traps set, and in some cases 70-80 possums per 100 traps. That number was reduced to about 3.5 possums per 100 traps (or 3.5 percent) after the operation, allowing the bush to regenerate, and landowners were encouraged to continue control measures.

Monitoring in November last year showed that number had increased again, to 14 percent, and more work was undertaken, mostly by landowners, to deal with re-invasion and get numbers down again. Monitoring this month showed a much improved result. The rate had dropped again to 7.4 percent – below the goal of 10 percent or less.

Environment Waikato Programme Manager of Biosecurity Operations, Peter Russell said the monitoring showed a great result for the community scheme. The monitoring methods helped give landowners some much needed feedback as to how they are doing in the fight against possums and the group was enthusiastic and committed to achieving results.

“Now that possum numbers have been brought right down, it is vital that landowners continue the good work. The results will be seen in flourishing bush and the return of native bird populations to the area.”