17 May 2011

Possum control operation planned for Taupo area

1:28 pm on 17 May 2011

The Animal Health Board is planning to carry out an extensive ground and aerial bovine possum control operation near Taupo next month.

Possums are the main source of tuberculosis in farmed cattle and deer.

The board's North Island programme manager, Brent Webster, says the operation will cover about 5000 hectares.

He says the majority of the area is unsuited to ground control methods using baited traps and will be treated with biodegradable sodium fluoro acetate from the air.

Mr Webster says keeping possum numbers at low levels will help prevent the spread of Bovine TB and protect the value of dairy, deer and beef herds on farms in the Taupo district.

The Animal Health Board is also enlisting the help of community groups in Taupo to monitor possum traps and bait stations.

The land involved is in an area of high public use, taking in the W2K track by Lake Taupo.

He says contractors would set up the bait stations and undertake initial control and then community groups would be invited to become involved in monitoring.

Mr Webster says it's the first time the board has asked a local community to help with a possum control programme.