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Published: 2006-12-01 00:00:00

Environment Waikato and the Department of Conservation are thrilled with the results of a recent joint possum control operation undertaken in the Waikite Valley area near Rotorua.

The two agencies carried out an aerial 1080 drop over the DOC-administered Te Kopia Reserve and surrounding private land in winter. This was supplemented by ground trapping and baiting operations.

The entire operation covered a total area of 12,000 hectares and monitoring to assess the work’s effectiveness was completed last week. Results from the aerial poison drop revealed a residual trap catch of 1.38 per cent, well below the three per cent target. (Residual trap catch refers to the number of possums caught per 100 traps per night.)

The ground-based operations were also highly successful, resulting in a residual trap catch of 2.7 per cent, again well below the five per cent target.

“This is a superb result for the more than 50 rural landowners involved in the operation and we are delighted to have been able to work with DOC to achieve this outcome,” said Environment Waikato biosecurity operations manager Peter Russell.

“Over the next three years Environment Waikato would like to grow the control area centred on Te Kopia Reserve to eventually encompass 40,000 hectares, where we also plan to carry out wallaby and goat control. Under the proposed new Regional Pest Management Strategy we will be focusing on integrating more of the catchment protection and biosecurity work we do in this area.”

Mr Russell thanked the landowners involved in the operation for their support of the project.

“This work will have considerable conservation and biodiversity benefits for the wider community, as well as delivering substantial benefits to the farmers involved. We thank them for supporting the operation and look forward to continuing to work with them in future.”