Date: 22 November 2013
Project Kaka's second aerial pest control operation, designed to boost native forest birds by reducing predators during the birds' breeding season, has began in the Tararua Forest Park.
The operation is being undertaken by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and will reduce numbers of rats, possums and stoats across the Tararua range.
Non toxic pre feed baits are being applied today and during the next spell of fine weather GPS-guided helicopters will be applying cereal baits laced with the biodegradable poison, sodium monofluoroacetate, also known as 1080, across a 22 000 hectare corridor of native forest stretching between Otaki Forks and Holdsworth road-end.
The baits target the animal pests that threaten native birds such as kaka, kereru, tui, bellbirds and riflemen.
Chris Lester from DOC says that monitoring undertaken since the last operation in 2010 has shown significant reductions in pest numbers and increasing populations of some native bird species.
Chris says counts of rifleman, whiteheads and kakariki increased following the first 1080 operation in 2010 compared to the adjacent non-treatment area where no 1080 was applied. "These species are able to breed quickly but are also very vulnerable to predation. They can give us an early indication if pest control is working."
Information on the operation and public safety has been posted at park entrances and huts within the treatment zone.
Chris Lester says the biodegradable 1080-laced pellets breakdown over time but dog owners should take particular care to avoid the region over the next few months.
"Dogs are especially vulnerable to the poison or to scavenging possum carcasses killed by 1080. Warning signs will be posted throughout the area and we're asking pet owners to keep away until further notice and to watch out for carcasses washed down local rivers."
Chris Lester is also advising park visitors, especially those with children to steer well clear of any green poison baits they may encounter.
Project Kaka is an on-going pest control operation to restore the health of a wide range of wildlife and plant species in the Tararua Forest Park. A "Triple Hit" will occur when stoats feed on dead possums and rat carcasses.
1080 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 by animals. The toxin breaks down in both water and soil and does not accumulate in the environment.
Department of Conservation
Phone: +64 6 350 6202
Mobile: +64 27 221 7166