DOC replies to possum rumour

RACHAEL KELLY
Last updated 15:06 24/07/2014
possum
POSSUM PESTS: Dead possums sourced from the Waikaia area or Fiordland will be spread in the Waikaia Forest to test decomposition rates.

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The Department of Conservation has scotched rumours that dead possums sourced from the Catlins - a Tb area - were being spread in the Waikaia Forest to test decomposition rates.

"We will be sourcing possums either from the Waikaia area or from Fiordland if we have [pest] contractors over there," Owaka field base ranger Cheryl Pullar said.

"As there is no Tb in the Waikaia area. We'll be making sure we're not introducing it into the area."

Pullar believed the rumours started as a misunderstanding.

"I think it's happened because I'm from the Owaka office and I said that we would be using possums from ‘our contractors' and they've thought the possums were coming from over here."

The method of testing decomposition rates was standard operating procedure, she said.

Dead possums and rats were placed in cages at different altitudes and moisture levels.

Their rate of decomposition was monitored to determine when it was appropriate for the public to use the forest safely after the planned aerial 1080 drop. The possums were sourced from contractors because they had to be in good condition.

"They can't have any injuries that could become infected."

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