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Hunua Pest Control – Post Operation Results

Many of you have been in touch with us, asking whether official results are in following the Hunua pest control operation. We’re about to go out with a full update via our news channels, but thought you’d appreciate being let in on the good news first.

The first round of post-operational monitoring, following the aerial application of 1080 over a 21,500 hectare area, is complete and rat and possum numbers are at an all-time low.

The target set for this operation for possums across the whole treatment area and rats within the intensively pest controlled kōkako management areas (KMA) was to get densities below five per cent. This means that less than five possums would be caught, or less than five tracking tunnels would have rat footprints, for every 100 trap or tunnel nights.

We are delighted to report the results for possums was 0.65 per cent and 1.03 per cent for rats – significantly lower than our target. This is a significant reduction in both pest species but particularly rats, which were tracking at 91.6 per cent ahead of the operation.

Within the 1150 hectare kokako management area, which has been monitored twice since the first bait application in August, no rats or mice have been recorded on either occasion in any of the 100 tracking tunnels.

Using any pest control toxin requires careful consideration and robust operational planning. 1080 is not the only tool we have for fighting pests but, right now, it is the most effective way to prevent wholesale destruction of treasured flora and fauna.

We particularly acknowledge the role that the community surrounding the Hunua Ranges has played in this operation. Whilst not everyone supported this approach, we appreciated your patience, interest and preparedness to work with us.

Around 3,000 hectares of private land was included, ensuring the operation could stretch to adjoining bush areas and prevent the threat of reinvasion as well as helping out with pest management on local properties.

Ongoing safety measures
While the parklands reopened on 21 September, we continue to remind people that visit the Hunua Ranges, Waharau and Whakatiwai regional parks; are in the wider operational area or live adjacent to it, to remain vigilant while the caution period is in place.

Signs will remain in place until early 2016. This caution period is one of the operational requirements of using a toxin like 1080 and is a good reminder that you may encounter bait that hasn’t yet broken down or pest animal carcasses.

1080 is deadly to dogs and dog owners should take particular care, both inside and close to the operational area, to make sure dogs are not allowed to scavenge carcasses.

Council is monitoring the breakdown of possum carcasses in a number of different areas throughout the operational area. This monitoring will be used to inform the caution period.

Visit Hunua Project website for more information on the entire project, including why council carried it out and how.

Our email address is still in use but we’re not checking the inbox as often as during the operation. If you have an urgent inquiry, please contact us on 09 301 0101.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the Hunua Project. Our project team wishes you all a safe and enjoyable summer and holiday season.

The Hunua Project team

Auckland City Council

2015 Hunua Pest Control Programme numbers

Here’s an informal snapshot of some of our numbers:
• Eight: the number of closed and warning signs or barriers ignored by one tramper the day after bait application as he kept on walking into the closed park
• Five: the number of dogs caught by staff inside the operational area unaccompanied by owners
• More than 272: the number of water samples tested – with no 1080 detected
• More than 1100km: covered by track clearance teams
• Zero: the number of rats and mice detected following two lots of monitoring in the kōkako management areas
• One: the first nest with incubating kokako ever observed outside the intensively managed areas.

Posted: 04/12/15

Posted By: Margaret McMahon