Very solid results have been achieved in a major Waikato Regional Council possum control operation carried out recently over 18,000 hectares south of Te Kuiti.
The $230,000 operation – on relatively accessible private and public land – involved ground-based methods, including brodifacoum in bait stations, cyanide and trapping.
Possum numbers recorded after the operation showed contractors met their performance targets, said biosecurity officer Paul Quinn.
“It’s a very satisfactory result all round, and this operation will further help protect native bush and the productivity of farmland by keeping on top of possum numbers in the area. It will also help prevent the spread by possums of bovine Tb.”
The work was carried out in the Aria and Pio Pio East priority possum control areas (PPCAs), which are part of the wider, 76,000 hectare Central King Country possum control project.
Pio Pio East PPCA covers approximately 12,800 hectares of rolling to steep hill country containing patches of bush and involves about 175 landowners. Aria PPCA is approximately 5,500 hectares of similar country, has one Department of Conservation reserve, and involves about 66 landowners. Both areas are mostly taken up by sheep and beef farms, with some dairying and dairy support.
The aim of the project is to reduce and maintain possum densities to at or below five possums caught for every 100 traps laid after operations. Post-treatment monitoring showed average scores of 3.07 for Aria and 1.44 for Pio Pio East.
Mr Quinn thanked landowners for their help in making the operation a success.
“We always aim to work closely with landowners when carrying out control and we’ve had great co-operation with this recent work.”
More ongoing control is planned under the wider Central King Country possum project in coming years.