Council brings possum war into the city

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 10/02/2014
New Plymouth District Council parks and projects manager Steve McGill
ANDY JACKSON

Urban possums beware: New Plymouth District Council parks and projects manager Steve McGill with a possum bait station in a puriri tree.

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The battle against possums is about to enter an urban warfare stage.

The Taranaki Regional Council is planning to extend its rural voluntary pest control programme into New Plymouth.

The council's self-help pest control programme, which also targets rats and stoats, has been running across 235,000ha of farmland on the ring plain since the 1990s, and this year the plan is to take it urban.

Council director of operations Stephen Hall said the idea would be proposed to the community in March to gauge public interest in the project.

"The aim is to control possums in urban New Plymouth to enhance biodiversity values - birds, native vegetation, critters and lizards," Mr Hall said.

The programme would comprise a combination of traps and bait stations.

Mr Hall said the traps were not dangerous to cats.

At present New Plymouth District Council carries out possum control in the city's parks, reserves and walkways. Landowners with properties backing onto these areas would be invited to join the project with the aim of plugging the gaps where pests ran unchecked.

Private landowners would be able to choose the method of control they preferred.

NPDC parks manager Mark Bruhn said it was great that the TRC had initiated the plan to involved landowners. There were large chunks of native vegetation within urban New Plymouth that could only be enhanced by better control of pests.

"We have some bait stations in high biodiversity areas, like the Henui walkway, Audrey Gale, Barrett Domain and Hickford Park. There's lots of areas throughout the whole district with really good pockets of bush."

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