|Not a member? Sign up now!|
Dog owners are advised to be extra vigilant in and around the Rimutaka Ranges following the completion of a large aerial possum poisoning operation yesterday (30 August, 2012).
The operation, jointly conducted by the Animal Health Board (AHB) and Greater Wellington Regional Council (GW) was carried out to protect cattle and deer herds from bovine tuberculosis (TB), and improve the health of native forest. Around 28,000ha of the Ranges has been treated with biodegradable 1080 poison baits, including parts of the Rimutaka Forest Park, the Pakuratahi Forest, the Kaitoke Regional Park and GW’s Wainuiomata-Orongorongo Water Collection Area.
Baits and poisoned possum carcasses are extremely toxic to dogs and warning signs have been placed at all main public access points to the operational area. These will remain in place until possum carcasses have fully decomposed – about six months. Dog owners are strongly advised to keep their dogs safe from accidental poisoning by keeping them out of the operational area until all the warning signs have been taken down.
There is a small risk that flooding could wash possum carcasses out of the operational area and down the Hutt River. To guard against this, GW has set up a flood warning system. If there is heavy rain, staff will be alerted and a patrol sent out to check the sides of the Hutt River for any possum carcasses. If carcasses are found, they will be removed. Warning signs will be posted in risk areas along the river and GW will notify local media.
Any dogs suspected of eating possum carcasses should be taken to a vet immediately. All local vets have been alerted to the operation.