Possums in Southland are facing a losing battle, with more than 300,000 hectares of land now part of the highly successful Possum Control Areas (PCA) programme.
The programme reached the major milestone this month, just eight years after the first PCA was established.
Senior biosecurity officer Dave Burgess says the success of the programme is largely due to the commitment of landowners who have recognised the significant economic and environmental impacts of managing possums on their properties.
“Most landowners are aware of their responsibilities for possum control, however having large areas in designated PCAs reduces the chances of possum reinvasion between neighbouring areas and achieves a much better level of control with everybody working together.”
Environment Southland biosecurity staff support and assist landowners within PCAs, by implementing any initial possum control work required at no cost.
“We make sure possums are reduced to a low level that landowners can effectively manage and maintain. Sometimes areas don’t require an initial control programme and then we go straight to the next phase of setting up bait stations in areas of prime possum habitat.”
Dave says landowners are then provided with ongoing support and are strongly advised to use a recommended contractor.
“The benefits of good possum control are substantial, not least for the impact on improving biodiversity. Possums can devastate native flora and fauna and one of the early signs reported by landowners who have achieved good possum control, is the return of birdsong to their property.”
Find out more about the PCA programme.