Taranaki’s region-wide possum control programme is expanding into the Bell Block area this week.
Contractors are undertaking an initial control operation to reduce possum numbers on a 2600 ha swathe south of Bell Block. This follows 96% of the occupiers of the zone’s 350 properties agreeing to become part of the Taranaki Self-Help Possum Control Programme.
Agreement was needed by at least 75% of land occupiers, representing at least 75% of the land area.
The knock-down operation will reduce possum numbers to very low levels. All land holders in the area are then obliged to maintain low levels by undertaking annual control..
Most of the properties are in an area bounded by Smart Rd, the New Plymouth-Marton rail line and SH3A.
"Possums are a major threat to agriculture, forestry and native biodiversity, and the self-help programme has allowed Taranaki to keep them under control," says the Council's Animal Pest Manager, Steve Ellis. "The scheme's been running since 1992 and with this Bell Block zone included, it now covers 230,000 ha.
"It's an effective partnership between land owners and the Council, and it enjoys good support from farmers."
The Council provides advice, education and assistance, including traps and baits at cost price, the training and licensing required for some types of baits, and lists of certified contractors if people don't want to do the maintenance work themselves.
The initial control operation is being carried out by a private contractor. For more information, call the Council on 06 765 7127 and ask for the Animal Pest Section.