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 will treat over 34,000ha of the park to significantly reduce these pest numbers.
This operation will also trial a method of aerial 1080, and use the latest trapping technology to remove possums from the Kaitake Range (around 4500ha in size).
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.
Operations will be triggered as rodent populations reach monitored thresholds. Operations will be from March to August 2019. Finalised dates will be confirmed closer to the operations taking place.
Two separate predator control operations will run simultaneously. One is 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.
An aerial 1080 predator control operation began on the Kaitake Range at the end of March. This activity aims to completely remove possums from this area and reduce predator numbers down to less than 5%. A zero-possum trial is being conducted using multiple applications of non-toxic pre-feed and toxin. The first pre-feed and toxin application has been completed. The second will be applied over the coming months. The aim is to completely remove possums 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
From June a standard aerial 1080 control operation will be conducted over the remaining 31,000 ha of the Egmont National Park. A non-toxic pre-feed has been completed. The toxin application is starting today, Wednesday 26 June 2019. Roads in Egmont National Park will be closed until Thursday afternoon. This will be a ‘sustained control’ operation and similar to the four previous operations conducted on the Park over the last 26 years.
What you need to know
Warning signs will be 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.
For more information on why 1080 is used in New Zealand, visit 1080facts.co.nz.