20 Nov 2014

New devices target specific pests

6:59 am on 20 November 2014

New advanced pest control using devices to target specific species is being hailed as the latest tools in controlling them on farms and diseases such as tuberculosis.

Researchers are meeting at Massey University at the New Zealand Ecological Society Conference.

Researchers are working on devices that can identify a possum by its weight and trap it.

Researchers are working on devices that can identify a possum by its weight and trap it. Photo: PHOTO NZ

James Ross, a senior lecturer in wildlife management at Lincoln, said advanced multi-delivery traps called spitfire were capable of killing up to 100 animals before needing to be restocked with poison.

He said they were a major breakthrough in the control and eradication of pests including stoats and possums.

"One that we can attach to a tree and that has zinc phosphide in it, which is another one of these new toxins, so micro-encapsulated zinc phosphide paste is now registered for possum control.

"That's another output from our group and we have a similar device that only a possum can activate. It has to hop up onto a little platform which weighs the animal and determines it's in the right size range. It then has to bite on another little tool and it gets a squirt on it as well, so long term what we hope is that there are tools for farmers that they can use in conjunction with other stuff that might be going on around the farm."

Mr Ross said an even more advanced trap using technology that can identify the animal entering it and also send a message when it needs servicing, is not that far away.

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