Possum control underway in Kaitoke/Hutt River Catchment
Greater Wellington Regional Council Biosecurity Officers began a key stage of a planned possum control operation today. Biodegradable pellets containing sodium fluoroacetate, also known as 1080, will be distributed using helicopters and GPS navigational technology across 10,000 hectares of Kaitoke Regional Park backcountry and the Hutt River Catchment.
The Swingbridge and Loop Tracks of Kaitoke Regional Park are closed today and tomorrow. Signage is clearly visible at the entrance of these tracks. This possum control operation does not affect the campground or Rivendell areas of the park.
Visitors to the areas of the park within the possum control area are strongly advised to take notice of official signage. These notices advise visitors:
- to keep children and dogs out of the area, and,
- not to handle bait or carcasses.
"The Greater Wellington Regional Council Biosecurity Team are skilled and well-experienced at possum control. Major operations have been carried out across the region in the past using these tried and tested techniques," says Wayne O'Donnell, GWRC Catchment Management General Manager.
"Park visitors need to take sensible precautions for themselves, and children or dogs in their care, by not handling any bait or carcasses."
Communities near the possum control area, as well as those who use the area for recreation, have been consulted with. Landowners and authorities have been notified and adverts have been placed in local newspapers.
There will be no risk to the public water supply as a result of this possum control operation. The Medical Officer of Health will advise when water can be taken from the Hutt River catchment. In the meantime the Te Marua Water Treatment Plant will use an alternative water supply, the Stuart Macaskill Lakes.
GWRC will monitor possum carcasses and the toxicity of bait in the area.
Similar possum control work has been successfully carried out in this area in 2003 and 2009. The forest has responded well, the forest canopy is recovering and the under-storey is flourishing.
To find out more about this possum control operation go to www.gw.govt.nz/Kaitoke. For more information on how and why sodium fluoroacetate is used in New Zealand, see www.1080facts.co.nz.
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