Why we are controlling Possum and Rats?
The objective of this work is to protect the native mistletoe within the reserve and to increase native bird numbers which disperse the mistletoe seeds. The work is also undertaken to protect and restore the ecosystem in general in this area for all native plants and animals.
This possum and rat control operation is part of an ongoing programme undertaken by Tikitapu Forest and Bird Care group to reduce pest numbers in one of the Area’s well known and well used reserves. This will reduce possum browse and predation allowing the forest and in particular the native mistletoe population to recover.
Possums and rats are known to negatively impact on ecosystems by preying on young birds, eggs and invertebrates. They compete for food and generally have a destructive impact on the habitat. Possums can damage mistletoe by browsing and consuming seeds and fruit.
What has been decided so far?
Using a network of approx 150 bait stations (see left photo) placed along bait lines within the operational area, it is intended to reduce possum and rat numbers using Pindone cereal baits to target rats and Feratox® Strikers to target possums. Research shows bait stations to be an effective and targeted form of possum and rat control. Feratox® Strikers will be nailed to trees at 50 metre intervals along bait lines, to target possums this year, and Pindone pellets to target rats will be placed in the bait stations. Feratox® Strikers contain Ferafeed, a non toxic paste appealing to possums and contain a Feratox pellet, which is a controlled substance and will be handled only by certified operators.
The use of this pesticide requires the consent of the Medical Officer of Health and any advice that they provide is incorporated into the operation. In addition, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the local authority (Rotorua District Council) must be advised. The Department of Conservation also has an internal approval process to ensure the operation run by Tikitapu Forest and Bird Care Group is meeting the Department’s Quality Management standards for pesticide use.
These consents entail a detailed assessment of the risks involved in the work. Before approvals are granted, a satisfactory means to manage these risks has to be shown. (This is called an Assessment of Environmental Effects and if you’re interested, a copy for this operation can be viewed at the Department of Conservation, Rotorua Lakes Area Office.) Conditions applied to this operation further safeguard the public and the environment.
The Tikitapu Forest & Bird Care Group will consult those surrounding landowners affected by this operation prior to the baiting operation commencing. This will involve considering their concerns and needs regarding the operational method and its timing. Other people who have a general interest in the area will be notified using this fact sheet.
The Pindone ® poison will be placed in bait stations on or just after the 13th September 2013. Bait will be topped up as required and Ferafeed non toxic strikers placed at 50m intervals along bait lines on or just after 2nd November 2013. Ferafeed strikers will be replaced with Feratox® strikers,(cyanide) on or just after 15 November 2013. Uneaten poison bait will be removed from the bait stations by mid December. Possum and rat numbers will be monitored during this period to assess the effect of the baits. These dates are indicative and may change due to factors such as bad weather. Warning signs will be placed immediately prior to the operation starting and removed when the caution period is over which is around the end of April.
The pesticides used are effective and safe when properly handled. The use of bait stations allows for the pesticide to be made available to target pest species while at the same time restricting accessibility to native and non-target species. However there is a risk of poisoning to humans and non-target animals such as dogs if the bait is handled carelessly or eaten. Poisoning can occur through eating baits or poisoned animals.
The risk to dogs from pesticide in carcasses will remain until the carcass have decomposed, which can be up to or more than six months.
These risks can be eliminated by following these simple rules:
- DO NOT handle any bait
- DO NOT allow CHILDREN to wander unsupervised in the treatment area
- DO NOT bring DOGS into this area
- DO NOT take ANIMALS for eating
The presence of Warning signs indicates that pesticide residues may still be present in baits or animals. The removal of signs will tell you that you can resume normal activities in the area. If in doubt, check with DOC.
What do I do if I suspect poisoning?
Always contact your:
- Local doctor, or
- Local hospital or
- National Poisons Centre 0800 764 766
Who do I contact for more information?
Rotorua Branch, Forest & Bird
PO Box 1489, Rotorua 3040
(07) 362 8480
Department of Conservation
Rotorua Lakes Area Office
99 Sala St, Rotorua.
ph(07) 349 8212