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Published: 2012-03-14 00:00:00

A major possum and goat control operation is next month set to get underway covering a high value native forest near the Waikato region’s south-west coast just north of Awakino.

The regional pest management committee was told yesterday that the work will be a partnership between the council and the Department of Conservation (DOC), and also involve private landowners.

A report to the committee said the Whareorino, Moeatoa and Waikawau area is one of the largest and higher value areas of native forest in the Waikato and has high quality waterways. It is home to threatened species such as the karearea (NZ falcon), kereru (pigeon), native frogs and long-tailed bats.

Under the work starting next month, some 33,500 hectares of public and private land will receive possum control using baits, while about 18,000 hectares will receive goat control using hunters.

The council’s biosecurity and heritage group manager John Simmons said the scale of the operation was only possible due to the collaboration with DOC.

“Synergies between DOC and the council give us the ability to share the workload involved. We believe this collaborative approach gives the best environmental outcomes with the greatest operational efficiency.

“This concerted effort between landowners, DOC and the council is moving us towards having healthier waterways and forest ecosystems within an area that also includes farms which will benefit from the pest control.”