Possums, rats and stoats in a 7000-hectare stretch of the western flanks of the Tararua Range will be attacked with an aerial 1080 poison drop in August.
The Animal Health Board operation aims to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from possums, which, along with rats and stoats, prey on bird life and damage native plants.
It will be supported by ground-based control across 5000ha.
The trapping and autopsy of the pests will help determine whether the disease has been eradicated from the area.
If there are no signs of TB, the board says, it hopes this will be the last aerial possum-control operation in the area, which is in state forest in hills between Levin and Otaki.
Programme manager Alan Innes said warning signs would be posted, and dog muzzles provided on request.
"Dogs are particularly susceptible to biodegradable 1080 poisoning. While we are offering free muzzles, dogs should not be taken into the operational area until all warning signs have been removed," he said.
The operation would add to the 32,000ha of coastal Rangitikei from which the disease was eradicated last year.
- © Fairfax NZ News