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By Shelley Wilson
Pre-feeding for OSPRI’s TBfree Radiant Range aerial possum control operation is expected to be completed today.
The TBfree programme aims to control and eventually eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) from New Zealand by 2055.
OSPRI’s Northern South Island Programme Manager Josh King said the Radiant Range aerial operation, covering approximately 27,336 hectares, forms part of a comprehensive pest management programme designed for the West Coast. The majority of the operational block has not received possum control before.
There are strict safety, quality assurance and monitoring requirements around the use of 1080 when applied either by hand or aerially (which accounts for just 10-20% of its use).
Mr King said, “Warning signs will be erected at all likely public access points to the area before the application of toxic bait begins. It is important that the public adhere to the instructions on these warning signs."
“Dogs' owners are again reminded to keep their animals well away from areas where warning signs are present. It will not be safe to take dogs into the area until all of the warning signs have been officially removed,” said Mr King.
Possums are the main carrier of bovine TB and may spread the disease to livestock in surrounding farmland if they are not effectively controlled.
OSPRI helps protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand’s primary industries. It currently runs the NAIT and TBfree programmes.