Since 2018, Environment Southland, supported by Living Water and the Department of Conservation, has been working with landowners on controlling a range of pest animals in the Waituna catchment.
As a joint effort, it is the first of its kind in Southland and aims to support landowners to work together to control pest animals. Although it is voluntary, control of the pests will be more effective if the majority of landowners are involved as it will reduce the pests moving from property to property.
Initially farmers have been assisted to target possums, mustelids (ferrets, stoats and weasels) and feral cats. These species can have a significant impact on the economy and environment.
Controlling them in the Waituna catchment will:
- reduce economic loss to crops, pasture and trees,
- limit the risk of Bovine Tb and Toxoplasmosis transmission,
- limit predation of domestic chickens and waterfowl,
- improve biodiversity,
- support the Department’s projects to control pests on the conservation estate and protect rare native species.
Possum control in the Waituna catchment started in 2018 and has since been extended to a second possum control area (Kapuka PCA, see map below). Council’s pest contractor completed the initial possum control with good results and now landowners will maintain the low possum levels with ongoing possum control coordinated annually by Environment Southland.
The mustelid control trialling of new celium node technology has not worked as well as expected due to the flat topography of the landscape. Staff will be in contact with appropriate farmers during spring to carry out further work on the traps.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Environment Southland Biosecurity team.