Date: 10 October 2013
A ground based control operation designed to reduce rat numbers and give native birds a boost is about to begin in the Pukaha Mount Bruce forest.
The operation is being carried out by the Department of Conservation (DOC) for the Pukaha Mount Bruce Board. It will involve hand filled bait stations placed at 100 metre intervals with cereal based bait containing the biodegradable poison, sodium monofluroacetate, also know as 1080.
Bob Francis, chairman of the Pukaha Mount Bruce Board, says " Pukaha Mount Bruce is a nationally significant habitat for native birds species such as kokako, kereru and kaka and protection of these animals from rats is vital to their long term survival."
Bob says that controlling rats at this time of year significantly reduces the amount of predation of native chicks and eggs and results in a more successful nesting season.
Information on public safety will be posted on site at the Visitor Centre as well as other entrances to the reserve.
Chris Lester from DOC says hand laying of bait in stations ensures an even coverage and minimises risk to visitors. He is advises that although it is unlikely they will come across any green poison baits while visiting, to steer well clear of any bait and bait-stations if encountered.
"Dogs are especially vulnerable to the poison or to scavenging carcasses killed by 1080" says Chris "Warning signs will be posted throughout the area even though dogs are not permitted in the reserve.
The active ingredient in 1080 – fluoroacetate – is a naturally occurring plant toxin which is found in a number of Australian and African plants to deter browsing animals. The toxin breaks down in both water and soil and does not accumulate in the environment.
Pukaha Mount Bruce is one of New Zealand's most established and successful wildlife and captive breeding centres. Set in 942 hectares of ancient podocarp forest it is home to many endangered species including the takahe, kokako, kaka and kiwi.
- www.doc.govt.nz/pukaha to find the Pukaha rat control factsheet PDF with further details about the 1080 operation
- www.pukaha.org.nz for more information on Pukaha Mount Bruce
- www.1080facts.co.nz for more information about 1080
Conservation Services Manager
Department of Conservation
Masterton Field Base
Phone: +64 6 377 0700