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Possum blitz in parkland at Piha-Anawhata-Bethells

Posted by SC Comments Off on Possum blitz in parkland at Piha-Anawhata-Bethells

The annual Waitakere Ranges possum monitoring programme was completed in January, with very pleasing results. Most of the Waitakere Ranges is still maintaining possum indices below the treatment threshold of 2% residual trap catch (RTC).  However there is a number of patches showing possum recovery in the north of the Ranges, typically at the edge of the Regional park and buffer zones around it.  This means that Auckland Council biosecurity will be implementing a control programme (100m x 100m bait grid) over approximately 3000 ha of parkland and buffer, in the Piha-Anawhata-Bethells area.  This will be carried out in April. All of the land to be treated is outside Watercare catchment.

The programme will essentially be the same as that used in the 2010 programme over 3600 ha in the Parau-Cornwallis-Huia-Whatipu area.  This programme included several hundred private properties but resulted in nil complaints or reports of pet fatalities.

It is worth noting that the intended north Ranges programme (like the south Ranges programme last year) will be the first widespread control programme in the area since Operation Forest Save in 1999.  In the interim Biosecurity has only had to undertake localised hot spot control.  This proves that landscape-scale possum control can confer long term benefits at low overall cost.

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