In just 12 months the Hunua Ranges has gone from being over-run with rats and possums to having the lowest pest indices in decades.
Auckland Council has just completed its first aerial 1080 programme on 21,500 hectares of regional parkland, DOC reserves and some private land in the Hunua Ranges area.
The very first independent monitoring results from the block one, monitored with 40 trap lines, only returned two trapped possums over what is the equivalent of 1000 trap nights.
Councillor Bill Cashmore looks forward to more positive monitoring results being reported in the coming months and the forest flourishing this summer.
“The Hunua Ranges is Auckland’s southern lungs, with its steep gullies and prominent ridgelines covered in native forest,” he says.
“To visit the ranges and hear kōkako sing, accompanied by tui and bellbirds, is truly wondrous but, until now, has been rare.”
Auckland Council Biodiversity Manager Rachel Kelleher says visitors to the parks must remain aware they are entering an area recently treated with a toxin. “Signs will remain in place until early 2016 to remind people that 1080 has been used in the area. This is an operational requirement of using a toxin like 1080 and a good reminder to visitors that they may encounter bait that hasn’t yet broken down or pest animal carcasses.
“Dog owners should take particular care, both inside and close to the operational area, to make sure dogs are not allowed to scavenge carcasses. Children should also be carefully supervised,” says Ms Kelleher.
Read more about the Hunua Project.