An Environment Waikato-managed possum control operation over 2,300 hectares near Matamata has achieved excellent results.
The operation at Te Tapui Reserve, was carried out using 1080 in bait stations, cyanide products and trapping, after consultation with the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA), local iwi and the community. The reserve is administered by the Department of Conservation (DoC) with DoC funding this latest round of control.
EW has been involved with possum control in Te Tapui Reserve since 1998, in response to concerns from the Whitehall/Te Miro community about pest reinvasion into the community-run possum control program.
The president of the NZDA’s Waikato branch John Voorend said his organization had a long involvement in the care of Te Tapui and applauded the techniques used by EW and DoC in the area.
"It is also pleasing to see organisations, with varying opinions on how these control operations are achieved, working together in a spirit of co-operation and dialogue, achieving an outcome agreeable to all parties," Mr Voorend said.
EW biosecurity officer Brett Bailey said the operation achieved excellent possum kill results which would benefit both Te Tapui and the neighbouring Whitehall-Te Miro priority possum control area.
Stu Kneebone, chairman of the community steering group overseeing operations in Whitehall -Te Miro, said his committee was "stoked" with the final results in Te Tapui.
"It was particularly pleasing to have the affected parties, being the local community, NZDA and DoC, work together to agree on a suitable control method," said Mr Kneebone.
Later this year, almost 1000 hectares of the Te Tapui reserve will be treated for rats under EW’s Halo project, which aims to protect bird breeding sites around Hamilton. Results from other Halo sites indicate that Tui nest success was at 73 per cent where rat control is undertaken compared to just 32 per cent in uncontrolled sites.
"This Halo work at Te Tapui in the area later this year, and over the following two years, will be the largest project undertaken as part of Halo," said Mr Bailey.
"The latest round of possum control using ground-based bait stations has laid the foundations for the Halo rat control by getting possum numbers down and establishing a bait station network.
"EW thanks NZDA, local iwi and others in the community for helping to ensure the success of our latest operation Te Tapui and the Halo work to come."