Deliberate removal of warning signs risks locals’ safety

Date 20 November 2015

A recent signage audit of OSPRI’s TBfree Waimea-Kawhaka aerial possum control block has identified that a number of warning signs have been deliberately removed.

OSPRI’s Northern South Island Programme Manager Josh King said that extensive landowner and community consultation and notification was undertaken as part of the consent application process prior to the Waimea-Kawhaka aerial being flown. This included the management of water supplies, the identification of exclusion areas such as the West Coast Wilderness Trail, confirmation of operational boundaries and signage locations.

“Warning signs outlining the type of toxin used, the date it was applied as well as identifying the key operational contacts were placed at all locations identified during the consent application. The deliberate removal of signs prevents people from making informed choices such as ensuring children don’t pick up baits and that dogs are kept under control when using the area”.

It is important that the public adhere to the instructions on these warning signs which will remain in place until carcass monitoring shows that bait and carcass breakdown has been achieved which may take up to six months,” said Mr King.

The Waimea-Kawhaka aerial operation which covers approximately 10,000 hectares was completed on 5 November 2015. It supports the large-scale annual ground-based control in the area, using traps and hand-laid toxins.

Possums are the main carrier of bovine TB and may spread the disease to livestock in surrounding farmland if they are not effectively controlled.

Ground-based control work, supported by aerial operations, protects the rural economy’s contribution to the West Coast total annual economic earnings. They also benefit the region’s native birds and forest which are extremely vulnerable to introduced predators, such as possums, stoats and rats.

OSPRI helps protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand’s primary industries. It currently runs the NAIT and TBfree programmes.

For further information

Josh King
OSPRI Northern South Island Programme Manager
0274 802 012

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