DOC ready to do battle with pests

READY FOR PESTS: Bags of 1080 are unloaded and put into storage at the old Fiordland laundry sheds in the Te  Anau Industrial Estate.
READY FOR PESTS: Bags of 1080 are unloaded and put into storage at the old Fiordland laundry sheds in the Te Anau Industrial Estate.

The Department of Conservation has begun arming itself for the Battle for our Birds in Fiordland.

Shipments of 1080 arrived in Te Anau and are being stockpiled to be ready for use at its sites, with the Waitutu area likely to be the first.

DOC was looking at treating several sites, including areas in the Fiordland National Park and the Catlins.

DOC Fiordland conservation services manager for biodiversity Lindsay Wilson said the Waitutu operation was primarily possum control but the 1080 would also knock off the rat and stoat populations.

There will be further 1080 drops in Fiordland later this year and next year to combat a significant masting event in South Island beech forests.

Data was still being collected to determine the exact locations, Wilson said.

The mast is expected to trigger a rodent and stoat explosion. When seed supplies run out these predators will turn on endangered birds such as mohua, kaka, kea, whio and kiwi along with other at-risk species such as bats and land snails.

To protect native wildlife DOC will extend the South Island forest areas targeted for aerial protection with biodegradable 1080 pesticide and boost ground-based trapping networks.

The Southland Times