New target: Possums on city boundary

Press Release – Taranaki Regional Council

Rural land holders in three areas totalling around 900 ha on the outskirts of New Plymouth are being invited to join a possum control scheme that already covers almost all the Taranaki ring plain.New target: Possums on city boundary

8 February 2012 Rural land holders in three areas totalling around 900 ha on the outskirts of New Plymouth are being invited to join a possum control scheme that already covers almost all the Taranaki ring plain.

The Taranaki Regional Council wants to extend its Self-Help Possum Control Programme to about 160 properties south and east of the city, stretching from the coast north of Omata to Mangorei Road.

“Possums are a major threat to agriculture, forestry and native biodiversity, and the self-help programme has allowed Taranaki to keep them under control,”says the Council’s Animal Pest Manager, Steve Ellis. “The scheme’s been running since 1992 and by the end of this year it will cover 231,000 ha.

“It’s an effective partnership between land owners and the Council, and it enjoys good support from farmers.”

The New Plymouth sections will be included in the programme if at least 75% of land occupiers, representing at least 75% of the land area, agree to take part. Council contractors will undertake an initial “knock-down” operation to reduce possum numbers to a very low level. All land holders in the area will then be obliged to maintain the low level by undertaking annual control.

“We provide advice, education and assistance to the land occupiers,” says Mr Ellis. “For example, we supply traps and baits at cost price, organise the training and licensing that’s needed for using some types of baits, and supply lists of certified contractors if people don’t want to do the maintenance work themselves.”

The Council is approaching land holders individually about joining the scheme. A decision is expected by early March, with the initial knock-down operation to run for six to eight weeks beginning shortly afterwards.

Land holders with questions about the programme can call the Council on 0800 736 222 and ask for the Animal Pest section.

ENDS

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