Introduction

Battle for our Birds pest control operations in South Westland are now complete, with the final two operations, in the Landsborough and Haast valleys receiving treatment this week.

Date:  02 December 2016

These operations were the last of five South Westland sites to receive treatment in the Battle for our Birds pest control programme that is taking place to protect native wildlife from rats and stoats.

The adjoining operations cover a total area of 37,868 ha and will provide protection to vulnerable populations of mohua, long tailed bats and kea, as well as numerous other forest birds.

Colin O'Donnell, DOC Principal Scientific Advisor - Ecosystems & Species, says birds have been monitored in the Landsborough valley over the past 18 years to gauge the effects of pest control. Over that period there have been five aerial 1080 operations, including one in 2014 as part of the BFOB programme. Ground based methods such as traps and poison bait stations are also used in the valley.

"The Landsborough is one of the few mainland sites that has a healthy population of mōhua, kākā, whio, long-tailed bats and New Zealand falcon/kārearea. The latest monitoring results (from 2015 following 1080 treatment in November 2014) show that most species, including mōhua, tui, bellbird, rifleman, brown creeper, parakeet, kaka and kererū, continue to increase slowly in the valley—an ongoing trend since integrated pest control began in the valley in 1995.

The pest control started in late October with aerial application of non-toxic baits to encourage rats and possums to eat cereal baits. Over the last two days, toxic baits containing biodegradable 1080 have been aerially applied.

Aerial 1080 predator control will target rats to knock down their numbers. Stoat numbers are reduced through stoats eating poisoned rodent carcasses.

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