The Akatarawa Forest (see map) on the Kāpiti Coast is undergoing a significant 1080 drop through the month of June and residents are advised to stay away from the drop area.
Greater Wellington’s biodiversity team say they are undertaking an aerial possum control operation in the Akatarawa Forest, using the biodegradable pesticide, sodium fluoroacetate (1080). Non-toxic pre-feed application has occurred, and aerial baiting of 1080 is expected during the week of June 7.
“This application is subject to suitable weather conditions, and delays may occur.
“Both applications are subject to suitable weather conditions. If the pre-feed application is delayed the application of 1080 will also be delayed.”
The proposed operational area shown on the map below covers approximately 15,100 hectares of the Akatarawa Forest, which is owned and managed by Greater Wellington. Previous aerial 1080 possum control operations have been carried out in this area in 2007 and 2013.
The Akatarawa Forest is one of the best examples of ‘old growth forest’ in the Wellington region, providing habitats that support many regionally and nationally uncommon native species. The forest also contains water sources that may be used for water supply in the future, and areas of plantation forest.
“We need to reduce predator numbers to protect the biodiversity and water quality in the Akatarawa Forest. A recent monitoring survey found possums were present throughout the forest, in numbers which exceed target levels. Akatarawa Forest is not only the habitat of vulnerable native reptiles, invertebrates and birds, but is home to an extraordinary and unique northern rātā which is 39m tall, and thought to be over 1,100 years old.”
Who will be affected?
The forest will be closed to all recreational users for three days following the 1080 application so main tracks can be cleared of 1080 pellets. Following this, motorised recreation, mountain biking and walking is permitted, provided the poison warning signs are followed.
The operation will have further effects on certain activities:
• Hunters – will not be issued permits for deer, goat or pig hunting for four months following the 1080 application.
• People with dogs – will be advised to stay clear of the area until all baits have become nontoxic and possum carcases have decomposed. Decomposition is expected to take three to four months following the 1080 application.
• Horse riders – will be advised to stay clear of the area until all baits have become non-toxic, which occurs after 100mm of rainfall following the 1080 application.
• Adjoining landowners and graziers – will need to ensure stock fences are intact until all baits have become non-toxic.