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Published: 2001-11-15 00:00:00

A large-scale possum control operation to the west of Lake Whangape is progressing smoothly.

The project, which is bounded by the settlements of Glen Murray and Naike, started when landowners approached Environment Waikato for assistance in controlling possums. Environment Waikato said possum control by people in the area often had short-lived success in the past because control was not co-ordinated, and possums soon reinvaded from neighbouring properties.

Environment Waikato agreed to reduce the possum population to a very low level in the area so that landowners would be able to keep their numbers down more easily in the future. About 80 landowners over 10,000 ha gave permission for Epro Ltd and Farm and Forest Pest Services Ltd to undertake the possum control on their land. Both companies are contracted to Environment Waikato.

The landowners have also agreed to continue controlling possums on their land for at least three years to protect native bush and wetlands and to reduce the risk of Bovine Tb getting into the area. Other benefits included fewer garden plants and less pasture being eaten by possums.

Individual effort would now be better rewarded, thanks to this community-wide approach, according to the group’s committee member, Oliver Saxton.

“There have been some patches of very high possum numbers that have made it very difficult for us to bring their numbers down,” Mr Saxton said.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to be self sufficient in the future.”

The initial operation is expected to be finished by January next year.