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Published: 2001-03-21 00:00:00

Possums have been hit hard in the Waingaro-Pukemiro area following a successful community control operation.

Environment Waikato’s Biosecurity Committee was told the operation was the first carried out for Environment Waikato by a Pukekohe firm, Farm and Forest Pest Services Limited, and all the initial work was done by the contractor rather than landowners sharing the responsibility.

Before the operation began, in some areas 70 – 80 possums were caught in every 100 traps laid and considerable damage had been done to bush and pasture. Following the ground poisoning operation, the numbers are down to about three possums per 100 traps.

Biosecurity Officer Phillip Brown said with such low numbers there was likely to be swift improvement in the condition of the bush and the number of native birds should greatly increase.

The operation was thoroughly planned and each landowner was consulted several times before the operation went ahead. No complaints had been received about the work.

Now that possum numbers had been brought to a minimum, landowners will continue a maintenance programme for at least the next three years. Environment Waikato will supply bait at cost and provide advice on how to complete maintenance. It will also be monitored regularly to ensure work is done.

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