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Upper Hutt Leader : December 7th 2011
33 UPPER HUTT LEADER, DECEMBER 7, 2011 Our Region News from the Greater Wellington Regional Council December 2011/January 2012 www.gw.govt.nz facebook.com/GreaterWellington twitter.com/greaterwgtn 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 pest controllers. 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 www.ngamanuimages.org.nz Great Outdoors SUMMER EVENTS 2012 INSIDE The "dry" summer is here Less stored water to go around Encore Award winners Exceptional people improving the region's environment A two-way street Shocking video a reminder that we need to share the road
November 30th 2011
December 14th 2011