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Published: 2011-09-14 00:00:00

A series of highly successful possum and rat control operations was the highlight of an annual report to the regional council’s regional pest management committee yesterday.

Council possum control is aimed at protecting native plants and birds, as well as the productive capacity of farms and catchment management, while targeted rat control is crucial to protecting bird life.

The report – for the year to 30 June 2011 – noted how a possum control milestone had been achieved during the year through the completion of control in the Te Akau South pest control zone.

“This [completed] an unbroken band of possum control from Port Waikato to Raglan,” the report said.

Also, possum control in the central King Country area had been carried out taking in 58,000 hectares spread over six control zones.

“The average residual trap catch (RTC) achieved was 1.75 per cent against a target of five per cent RTC or less,” the report said. RTC is a measure of the number of possums caught per 100 traps.

Across the region generally, the average RTC was 1.61 per cent from 15 operations.

Rat control to help protect tui under the auspices of the Hamilton Halo project had also been highly effective, with monitoring showing very low rat numbers at five sites after treatment was carried out.

The report also noted a range of weed control operations, including how eradication of alligator weed was close to being achieved on productive land at Cambridge and Ohaupo.

“This has been due to the intensive nature of surveillance and control, and the excellent cooperation from the landowners,” the report said.