Auckland Council’s 1080 programme in the Hunua Ranges area has reached an important milestone with parkland reopening after the final bait application with the Hunua Ranges, Waharau and Whakatiwai regional parks reopening on Sunday 13 November.
Auckland Council Regional Parks Manager Scott De Silva 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 2023 to remind people 1080 has been used in the area. This caution period is one of the operational requirements of using a toxin like 1080 and is a good reminder to visitors 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 Mr De Silva.
Mr De Silva says the operation, which began in September and was completed in late October, has gone well and early monitoring is extremely promising.
“Treating a 21,500-hectare area that includes a water catchment, is popular for public access and includes private land, requires many months of careful planning.
“Getting the right weather conditions was a challenge, however the first set of monitoring data is already telling us that we’ve been extremely successful.
“After each block was treated with toxic bait an extensive track clearance programme was carried out. This required staff and volunteers walking the 186km of tracks multiple times and carefully moving baits and carcasses,” he says.
A post monitoring programme will be carried out to establish how effective the operation was in reducing possums and rats.
Councillor Richard Hills says he’s looking forward to positive monitoring results being reported in the coming months.
“Reducing predators to protect native species living within the ranges is a key focus for the council.
“We’ve already seen the success of the pest control measures we’ve undertaken within our kōkako population. In 1994 we had just one breeding pair, our most recent census shows we now have 250 breeding pairs.
Councillor Hills adds, “The work was completed just in time for the current breeding season with our first two chicks already banded.”
Watercare’s Cosseys and Mangatangi dams have been returned to service following completion of a water testing programme and approval given by the Medical Officer of Health.