Possum control restarts as Covid response moves to Level 3

Date 29 April 2020

TBfree programme possum trapping has resumed with the shift to Level 3 Covid-19 response.

OSPRI contractors are ramping up operations around the country, restarting ground and aerial possum control programmes.

Pest control was not deemed an 'essential business' under the Level 4 Lockdown and was suspended indefinitely. The Government set a high threshold for what constituted an essential service, and said pest operations, while important, had insufficient immediate impact on market access, animal welfare and food safety to qualify.

But the change to Level 3 has enabled pest control contractors to restart suspended operations and continue planning large-scale operations ahead of winter.

Possums are the main vector of transmission of TB between wildlife and livestock, and farmers are encouraged to safely continue possum control on their land while OSPRI’s contractors are grounded.  

OSPRI Chief Operating Officer Matthew Hall said he expects it will take several weeks to get operations realigned and maintain progress towards TB eradication. "If farmers have any concerns about contractors safely accessing your land, please let us know so we can help get this important work restarted."

Farmers can contact OSPRI on 0800 482 463.