Date: 09 August 2016
Pest control in Fiordland is aimed at protecting populations of mohua/yellowhead, kākā, kea, whio/blue duck, Fiordland tokoeka kiwi and two bat species.
Monitoring has shown rat numbers have now reached trigger levels fueled by a heavy beech seedfall this autumn in southern areas.
Five Fiordland sites have so far been confirmed as part of DOC’s national Battle for our Birds programme announced by Conservation Minister Maggie Barry last month, including the Upper Hollyford, Clinton, Cleddau and Murchison Mountains.
Aerial 1080 predator control will target rats and possums, with stoats killed as they eat poisoned rodents. The programme also includes an upgrade of the Murchison Mountains trapping network over 50,000 hectares to protect takahē.
DOC Te Anau Operations Manager Greg Lind says pest control is timed to prevent increased predator attacks on nesting birds and roosting bats so more offspring will survive to increase their populations.
“Research has shown that well timed pest control improves the survival and breeding success of our most vulnerable native species. Without it our local populations of these species will further decline and we could loose them.”
Monitoring has shown that mohua and whio, among other species, have greater nesting success after 1080 treatment than without. Long and short-tailed bat populations have been shown to steadily increase as a result of pest control in the Eglinton valley, which included aerial 1080 in 2014.
Operations this week will begin with aerial application of non-toxic cereal baits to encourage rats and possums to eat baits containing biodegradable 1080 pesticide when applied some days later.
Signs will be placed at entrances to operational areas informing of pest control operations taking place. The public are asked to be attentive of warning signs where bait has been laid and not to touch any bait pellets, eat animals from the area, or allow dogs access to animal carcasses from the treated area until all warning signs have been removed.
The confirmed Fiordland sites are among 19 Battle for our Birds sites nationwide, covering more than 720,000 hectares to protect priority populations of native species.
An additional 10 national priority sites covering about 200,000 hectares are on close watch for pest control if rodent levels reach damaging levels and include the Eglinton and Grebe valleys and Kepler Mountains in Fiordland National Park.
Kate Hebblethwaite, DOC Senior Ranger/Supervisor (Community)
Phone: +64 3 249 0237