Protecting native species at risk

Returning species like kākā, yellow-crowned kākāriki and more kiwi to the Egmont National Park, Kaitake and Pouakai Ranges is not a distant dream, but achievable through a multi-tool approach to restoring our biodiversity as we all work Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki.

Completely removing possums and rats from the forest to prevent re-infestations is important.

In 2019, an aerial 1080 predator control operation treated over 34,000ha of the park to significantly reduce these pest numbers.

This operation also trialled a method of aerial 1080, and continues to use the latest trapping technology to remove possums from the Kaitake Range (around 4500ha in size).

The aerial 1080 control operation over 31,000 ha of the Egmont National Park was completed on June 2019. The remaining 3000 ha of the Kaitake Range was completed October 2019.

There have been four previous operations in the National Park, with the last operation completed in 2016/2017. Prior to this the Park was treated in 2009/10, 2002 and 1993/94. After each operation there was a huge reduction of predators on our Mounga, which enables threatened plants and animals to successfully reproduce over the subsequent breeding season.

Aerial 1080 remains one of our best tools in protecting native taonga and is the most efficient, effective, and safest way to control predators in rugged country, like large areas of the National Park. In particular, it targets all predators in their home ranges at the same time, fast. This is fundamental to the success of the project.

Monitoring will also be conducted after the aerial 1080 predator control operation to understand the reduction of pests.

Twenty-four water samples were tested with results finding NO detectable traces of 1080 were found. Find out more here

Timeframe

The operations were conducted between March and October 2019.

Planning

Two separate predator control operations were run simultaneously. One was a zero-possum trial on the Kaitake Range, the other is a standard aerial 1080 control operation on the rest of Egmont National Park. The Taranaki Mounga project and Taranaki Regional Council have been meeting with local hapū, iwi, community. Engagements with relevant landowners to share information is ongoing.

The use of 1080 requires consent of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and permission from public health. The process includes an Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) to safeguard the public and the environment.

Kaitake Range

An aerial 1080 predator control operation began on the Kaitake Range at the end of March and was completed in October 2019. This activity aims to completely remove possums from this area and reduce predator numbers down to less than 5%. A zero-possum trial is underway with the first pre-feed and toxin application already complete. The first 1080 operation was completed late June, the second was completed in late October 2019. The aim is to heavily reduce possums numbers and prevent them from re-establishing by installing a network of ground control techniques in the areas immediately adjoining the operational area.

This operation is part of a broader multi-tool approach between Taranaki Mounga and Towards Predator-Free Taranaki to eradicate possums from bush, rural and urban areas from the Kaitake Range and its surrounding areas.

Rest of Egmont National Park

The aerial 1080 control operation over the remaining 31,000 ha of the Egmont National Park was completed the end of June 2019. This was a ‘sustained control’ operation and similar to the four previous operations conducted on the Park over the last 26 years. Water monitoring was conducted after this operation – no detectable traces of 1080 were found in water samples. Predator and specific native bird species monitoring is also underway. 

What you need to know

Warning signs have been placed at all main access points to the operational area and everyone must follow the cautions on the signs. There’s no health risk when using this area if you follow these instructions:

  • Do not handle any bait or allow children to wander unsupervised.
  • Cereal baits containing 1080 are dyed green.
  • Do not hunt or take game from within a two kilometre radius of the operational area for human or pet consumption.
  • Please observe these rules whenever you see warning signs about the pesticide.
  • It is illegal to take dogs on to Egmont National Park.
  • If you suspect your dog has 1080 poisoning, act immediately by inducing vomiting and taking your dog to the vet.

Further information

E: info@taranakimounga.nz

For more information on why 1080 is used in New Zealand, visit 1080facts.co.nz.