Home' The Wellingtonian : December 8th 2011 Contents 13
THE WELLINGTONIAN, DECEMBER 8, 2011
News from the Greater Wellington Regional Council
December 2011/January 2012
Tui have become a regular
feature in many parts of our
region. Pest control plays
an important role in bringing
our native birds back...
Every night possums munch through
tonnes of native bush across the country,
helping themselves to the eggs and
chicks of our native birds along the
way. If left unchecked, they can
destroy a forest from the top down.
In the 1990s regional councils, the
government and community groups
got serious about controlling possums.
This has proven to be very successful
in the Wellington region -- Landcare
Research estimates that our region's
possum population has shrunk by
87%, with bush and birds bouncing
back as a result.
The Wellington region's media regularly
reports people enjoying an abundance
of native birds in their gardens and the
surrounding hills. But if we want that
to continue we need to keep controlling
possums. The challenge is to do it safely,
effectively and at a reasonable cost.
Greater Wellington makes a significant
contribution to controlling pests
(including possums) in the region
through its Biosecurity department
and BioWorks team.
There are a range of options that
we use -- traps, poisons used in bait
stations or 1080 applied by helicopters.
The trick is to find the right method
for the individual area.
THE PRICE OF OUR FORESTS AND BIRD SONG
WHERE ARE THE POSSUMS? AND HOW SHOULD WE CONTROL THEM?
IN THE MOUNTAINS
If possums are in a remote and
mountainous part of the region, then
1080 from a helicopter is the best option.
These areas have thick bush, steep hills
and limited access -- possums could be
half a day s walk away. It s therefore
difficult to find anyone to haul traps
or bait stations into these areas and
live there for months killing possums
to achieve the level of control we need.
Having said that, less than 10% of the
control work Greater Wellington does
is with 1080 poison.
BUSH AROUND TOWNS AND CITIES
One of the Wellington region s great
features is the proximity of bush to most
of our towns and cities. A brisk 30 minute
walk from all our CBDs and you can be in
regenerating bush. People enjoy being
near the bush and possums love to eat it.
There are several types of traps that will
kill possums outright, but these can be
pretty ruthless on cats and any fingers
that might get caught. So they should
only be used at safe distances from
houses and walking tracks.
Near suburban areas poison from bait
stations is often the best option. The bait
stations are placed discreetly and out of
children s reach, and birds and pets can t
easily access the poison.
The benefit of bait stations is they keep
killing possums until all the bait is gone,
while traps need to be regularly checked.
This keeps labour costs down and often
means a larger area can be controlled
for less money.
Brodifacoum poison bait is one of the
best options because it kills possums
and rats, and is made of cereal which
makes it less attractive to pets. Cyanide
and cholecalciferol poison are more
dangerous and are only used well away
from houses and recreation areas.
BUSH AROUND FARMLAND
Two thirds of the Wellington region
is farmland and this is where most of
the possum control happens, mostly
to control bovine Tb which threatens
our dairy, beef and venison exports.
Possums often carry bovine Tb and
pass it on to cattle and deer.
On large farms the main risks of possum
control are to stock and dogs, so traps
and bait stations are fine if kept out of
harm s way.
This work is paid for by the Animal
Health Board, which is funded by
central and regional government and
the farming sector. Greater Wellington
does some of this work along with
other agencies and professional
OUR WORK FOR 2011/12
This financial year Greater Wellington
will spend more than $1 million and
assist 25 community groups with
controlling possums. Most of this
will be on public reserve land.
Possums eat the eggs of native birds
Photo courtesy Nga Manu Images
SUMMER EVENTS 2012
The "dry" summer is here
Less stored water to go around
Encore Award winners
Exceptional people improving the
A two-way street
Shocking video a reminder that we
need to share the road
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