Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


DOC will start its Battle for our Birds aerial pest control operation in the Matukituki Valley this week to protect vulnerable wildlife from a predator plague fueled by forest seeding.

Date:  17 October 2017

This work is aimed at safeguarding populations of threatened native birds from predation including kea, kaka, South Island robin, rock wren as well as long-tailed bats. 

Mike Tubbs, DOC Operations Manager for Central Otago, said that results from recent monitoring showed rodent levels in the valley had reached thresholds that threaten vulnerable populations of native species.

“Without predator control at these sites rodent numbers are expected to rise rapidly and cause a spike in stoat numbers when our native birds and bats are raising their young, and are at their most vulnerable.”

DOC also works with a range of community partners who deliver ground based predator control in Mt Aspiring National Park and other areas. “Recent reports of kea and rock wren on the Rob Roy Track are encouraging and indicate that our combined effort is making a difference.”

The planned aerial 1080 treatment will cover approximately 13,725 hectares. The pest control operation begins with a ‘pre-feed’ of non-toxic cereal pellets. This accustoms the pests to the pellets as food.  After at least one week a second operation will sow pellets with biodegradable 1080. 

Aerial operations using biodegradable 1080 have been confirmed at more than 20 sites, over 840,000 hectares, across the country to protect our most vulnerable populations of native species. Use of 1080 applied by air will be backed up by ground control using methods like traps and bait stations over a further 70,000 hectares. Battle for our Birds is one of many programmes that support DOC’s goal of protecting threatened species and making New Zealand predator free by 2050.

You can find more information about DOC’s Battle for our Birds programme on our website.


Mike Tubbs, Operations Manager, Central Otago
Mobile: +64 27 431 4033

Annette Grieve, Senior Ranger (Community), Central Otago
Phone: +64 3 443 5701
Mobile: +64 27 408 3370

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