The Department of Conservation recently announced plans to undertake two mouse, rat and stoat control operations in the Matukituki and Makarora Valleys in spring 2019 – involving the ‘aerial sowing of cereal baits containing sodium fluoroacetate (1080) poison over public land in the Matukituki, Makarora, Young and Wilkin, Siberia and Cameron Valleys within Mt Aspiring National Park’.
In response to escalating mouse and rat population numbers, these operations form part of DOC’s Battle for our Birds programme, which aims to protect native species from predators, and will start any time from September 1, depending on weather conditions.
DOC anticipates the Makarora operation will take four days to complete – “two consecutive days for the non-toxic bait, and two consecutive days one to four weeks later for the toxic bait”.
Once the Makarora operation has been carried out, DOC intends to commence with the Matukituki operation – anticipated to take two days to complete, “one day for the non-toxic bait, and one day one to four weeks later for the toxic bait”.
Without predator control, DOC expect species such as the orange-fronted parakeet, rock wren and yellowhead to suffer a heavy population decline.
Upper Clutha Forest and Bird, Aspiring Biodiversity Trust and DOC run ongoing trapping operations in order to protect vulnerable species, but DOC believes this is “insufficient to control predator numbers in mast years” – ‘mast’ meaning a heavy seedfall.
Aerial 1080 is used by DOC with the purpose of controlling “widespread predator plagues” and also “provides effective stoat control as stoat feed on the poisoned rodents”.
During these operations, people are strongly advised not to enter any of the specified areas and to check with DOC for any potential delays – as some walking tracks and areas may be closed.
To find out more, contact DOC by emailing email@example.com or calling 03 443 7660. The drop zone maps are available at www.thewanakasun.co.nz
MATUKITUKI DROP ZONE
MAKARORA DROP ZONE