Guerrilla warfare tactics will be used on any possums left
over from a major eradication campaign on Otago Peninsula.
The Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group would now use ''highly
mobile'' groups of people that could respond quickly to
public possum sightings, manager Cathy Rufaut said.
''It is very much the community being the eyes and ears and
us responding very quickly.''
The group has spent the past three years taking back land
from possums and has almost completely cleared the peninsula
north of Hoopers Inlet and Portobello.
The project was now starting to pay dividends with native
plants making a comeback in many areas.
Ms Rufaut said long-standing conservation volunteers in the
area had observed native plants recovering from possum
Department of Conservation programme manager biodiversity
assets for coastal Otago David Agnew said he had also heard
the stories of plant life recovering on the peninsula.
''That is what you would expect and that is what we have
heard,'' Mr Agnew said.
Another big project would need to be done to clear the possum
population from Portobello and Hoopers Inlet back towards the
main residential areas of Dunedin.
A large swath of land bordering those residential areas would
become a buffer zone where trapping and monitoring was
Next month, a major education programme would begin with
public meetings, leaflet drops and workshops for peninsula
She said it was amazing how well informed most peninsula
residents already were.
''We do a lot of trapping where people live and poison in
open farm land. There are very, very strict guidelines.''
Workshops for residents, showing them how to trap possums,
would include a sweetener of ''a cup of tea and cakes'' (for
The group was still looking for more sponsors, Ms Rufaut