Karamea Bluffs & Stormy Ridge TBfree possum control operations

Date 21 March 2018

Two aerial operations to control possum numbers in the Karamea area are expected to start shortly. The Karamea Bluffs and Stormy Ridge aerials, covering approximately 32,000 hectares, were initially planned for winter 2017 but inclement weather prevented the timely completion of these operations before the Christmas/New Year period.

Consultation for these operations began in November 2016. This has involved an open and transparent notification and consultation process which included inviting interested groups – including New Zealand Deerstalkers Association - to share their views on operations that were important to hunters.

All required consents for the Karamea Bluffs and Stormy Ridge aerial operations, covering approximately 32,000 hectares, have been obtained and the operations are scheduled to start shortly.

The TBfree programme aims to control and eventually eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) from New Zealand by 2055 with a combination of comprehensive pest management, TB testing for cattle and deer and stock movement control.

Many landowners – including farmers and forest owners, conservationists and recreational groups – recognise the value of the TBfree programme and support the possum control work needed to eradicate this disease.

OSPRI remains committed to working with local deerstalkers to identify areas of interest and where possible to consider the timing of our operations.

Monitoring had shown that control work was needed in the Karamea area to reduce the possum population and minimise the risk of the disease spreading through wild animal populations to farmed cattle and deer.

To eradicate bovine TB, possum numbers need to be kept extremely low – around one to two animals every 10 hectares.

There are strict safety, quality assurance and monitoring requirements around the use of 1080 when applied either by hand or aerially.

Warning signs will be erected at all likely public access points to the area before the application of toxic bait begins. It is important that the public adhere to the instructions on these warning signs.

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

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