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Published: 2011-02-10 00:00:00

An Environment Waikato pest management programme at Onemana, north of Whangamata, is reviving the area’s pohutakawa trees.

Over the past three months the coverage area has been extended, with bait stations targeting possums and rats now placed throughout 50 hectares of beach reserves to the north and south of Onemana.

“Late last year residents reported an increase in possum numbers, which we believe might have been related to logging operations in the commercial plantations, resulting in displaced possums moving towards the coastline,” said EW pest control contractor, Iain Baggaley.

“As a result, we looked for any obvious pathways for possum movement and were able to respond by focusing pest control efforts at these spots.

“Pohutakawa are like ice cream for possums, they love them, especially the new leaves and buds. The repeated destruction of this growth means the trees may struggle to sustain growth and they may die,” Mr Baggaley said.

“By working in partnership with the Thames-Coromandel District Council, and with the support of Onemana residents, EW’s pest management programme has enabled the area’s iconic pohutakawa trees to return to excellent health.”

Mr Baggaley said the pest management programme would continue, alongside extensive rabbit control which has been undertaken around Onemana’s dunes over the past two years.