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Pest animal control

Image - BrettAnyone considering pest control on their property really needs to work together with their neighbours, corral collaboration, not do it in isolation.

For us, it’s not a contest. We don’t care who takes the credit as long as we get an effect. Collectively we can get a lot done; individually, it’s not possible.

We are partnering more and more with the Department of Conservation (DOC). The approach usually is that DOC works the public land and we work with the owners of the surrounding private land. It’s crucial for the region’s biodiversity. Because we work on private land, what really underpins our job is individual landowner support, otherwise there is no point in us being there.

We have the Regional Pest Management Programme, and the biggest part of this is priority possum control.

We cover 360,000 hectares and work with 4500 landowners. Possums are the easiest. We know a lot about them. Rats are challenging because you have mast years – when food is abundant, trying to kill rats is harder. Stoats – we still haven’t got good control techniques over a landscape scale.

We like to look at a multi-species approach to pest control. Predator Free 2050 is doing a lot towards shaping what that might look like. The Predator Free 2050 stuff has been inspiring a lot of people to get involved. It is good.

We are getting some really cool results. In some areas DOC is now tracking native frog footprints through rat tracking tunnels, so that is pretty cool to see. Frogs are the most sensitive indicator. If you have rats, these guys are not going to be there.

I love my job. I can count six to eight tūī in the tree outside my window. I was involved in the Halo project to bring tūī back to Hamilton. The theory was if we could do intensive pest control in a 20km perimeter around the city we would create such an abundance of birds that they would flock back to the city. As well as tūī we have bellbird coming in. People also report keruru and kākā.

So you can imagine the work we are doing over a landscape scale – it will be having an effect.