INDEPENDENT NEWS

Operation Egmont Exceeds All Expectations

Published: Thu 31 Oct 2002 04:42 PM
Operation Egmont Exceeds All Expectations
The use of 1080 to prevent possums ravaging the environment on Mount Egmont [sic] has exceeded all expectations, Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today.
"Earlier this year about 28 possums were being caught in every 200 traps set on Mount Egmont and the natural environment was under threat," Mr Carter said.
"But since a pest-control programme using 1080 began in August, the catch rate on the mountain has dropped to one possum in every 200 traps. That is far lower than the Department of Conservation was anticipating," he said.
Mr Carter said that on-going monitoring had not detected any traces of 1080 in the local water supply.
"The use of aerial 1080 is a key tool for maintaining New Zealand’s biodiversity. Without possum control the vast array of precious native plants, birds and forests would decline or become locally extinct,” he said.
"Taranaki is defined by the mountain; it is a focal point not only in the landscape but in the lives of many people and with their help DoC has been able to run a successful control programme."
Over the summer, visitors to Egmont National Park can expect to see increasing numbers of tomtits and other small native forest birds. Soon totara and then rata should be showing new growth without possums attacking them.
Mr Carter said that it was heartening to see the strong public support in Taranaki for possum control. He thanked all 127 neighbours or adjacent landowners to the programme area for their cooperation and support.
"This certainly helped to make Operation Egmont run smoothly."
Although the operation is over, some possum carcasses may end up outside the treatment area by being washed down flooded streams or through unlawful placement. People need to take care when exercising their dogs, particularly around riverbanks and beach areas and should not let their dogs roam unsupervised till near the end of the year.
DoC still urges people not to touch any bait they may encounter.

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