The caution over the 1080 treatment area in the Hunua Ranges Regional Park has lifted, six months after the final application for 2022. With already excellent results, this marks the third successful aerial pest control operation for Auckland Council in Hunua Ranges over the last eight years.
Caution period lifted
A caution period is one of the operational requirements following a pest control operation, designed to remind visitors of the work that has been carried out and that baits, and animals that have consumed bait, may be present.
In addition to the caution period, Auckland Council also carries out bait and carcass breakdown monitoring which involves both visual assessments and laboratory testing.
“The weather plays an important part in the breakdown process of the bait and the ranges have received a significant amount of rain and warm temperatures over the last six months,” says Auckland Council Senior Ranger Conservation, Miranda Bennett.
“An important message throughout this programme has been the welfare of dogs in and around the regional park. Having the caution period in place keeps dog owners vigilant and ensures they follow park requirements for dogs to be kept on lead – which has been important in keeping dogs safe.”
Warning signs were taken down over the weekend and messages about the caution period are being removed from the council’s website. Dogs can now be exercised in the park in accordance with dog exercise area and on-leash requirements.
Targets for the operation were to reduce possum densities below two per cent and rat densities below three per cent, meaning for every 100 traps or tunnel nights, fewer than two possums were caught and only three tracking tunnels with rat footprints were noted.
Auckland Council General Manager Environmental Services, Rachel Kelleher says the post-operation monitoring results have continued to exceed expectations.
“We’re happy to report the results of 0.17 per cent for possums and 0.83 per cent for rats. These are great results that build on the success of the previous two operations. It’s a significant reduction in both pest species but particularly rats, which were tracking at 67 per cent ahead of the operation.
“This work is instrumental in enabling our bush and native birds to regenerate.”
The Hunua Project is funded by the Natural Environment Targeted Rate and is an outstanding example of its success and the council’s progress towards a pest free Auckland.
Planning, Environment and Parks Committee Chair, Councillor Richard Hills says the results in the flourishing Hunua Kōkako population, with 259 pairs recorded in 2022, is outstanding.
“The Hunua Project was recently recognised by the National Kōkako Recovery Programme as reaching the status of ‘genetically robust’, being only the second kōkako population in the country to reach this milestone as well as significantly contributing to the prosperity of this threatened species.
“We are immensely proud of these achievements, and that we are protecting this environment, and this threatened species for future generations to enjoy,” Hills adds.