A range of pest control methods are used by DOC, depending on the scale and urgency of the pest problem, the type of pest, and the accessibility of the area being treated.
Traps and bait stations are the main types of ground control used. Their design and toxins target specific pests, and they are designed not to attract or harm other species.
It is effective but labour intensive. DOC maintains over 180,000 traps, and spends more than $5 million each year on stoat and rat trapping.
Where possible, DOC works with local communities and councils on joint pest control projects.
DOC uses these humane, powerful and effective kill traps:
- the DOC 150 and 200 for stoats, rats and hedgehogs
- the DOC 200 for stoats, rats and hedgehogs
- the DOC 250 for ferrets, stoats, rats and hedgehog.
Predator Traps has more information about these humane kill traps.
Aerial drops of 1080 are used in areas that are too remote or too difficult to access on foot, or when pest plagues overwhelm trap and bait stations.
The operations are carefully planned and are guided by GPS technology.
Aerial pest control is cost effective and reduces pest populations of possums, rats and stoats simultaneously in a much shorter timeframe than ground control methods, which can cost more than three times as much.
Find out more about 1080 poison for pest control
DOC supports the fur recovery industry. But fur recovery does not reduce possum populations enough to allow the recovery of forests and native species. Bounties for possums are not used in New Zealand.
Find out more about possum fur recovery and bounties
Wild animal control plans
Wild animal control plans identify native species most threatened by introduced animals, and set objectives for how DOC will control these animals. DOC aims to involve interested groups during the preparation of these plans.
Find out more about wild animal control plans
Research into alternative and new pest control methods
DOC and TBfree New Zealand (formerly the Animal Health Board) jointly spend more than $2 million a year working with universities, Crown research institutes and private companies to develop new methods of pest control. This work includes:
- Trials to refine the use of 1080 and reduce the amount of toxin needed for effective control.
- Alternative species-specific toxins eg, PAPP or paraaminopropiophenone for use on stoats. PAPP kills animals very quickly and does not persist in carcasses, which eliminates the risk of secondary poisoning.
- A toxin that specifically targets the gut of possums, minimising the risks to other species.
- Self-setting traps that deliver a more efficient trap and big labour savings.