Possum work expands

Possums have almost been completely wiped out at Flagstaff, and attention is turning to eradicating the pests at Mount Cargill.

Possum control work using traps and toxins will begin around Mount Cargill, Signal Hill, Sullivans Dam and Bethune's Gully, following the success of the control operation at Flagstaff.

The Ospri TBfree disease control operation, which began in March, removed more than 4000 possums from the 2300ha area.

An independent audit using 270 wax tags over seven nights confirmed the success: only three bite marks were detected overall, and no possums were detected on the Leith Valley side of Flagstaff.

Tuberculosis (Tb)-infected herds were found in the Mount Cargill Tb management area in 2015.

The goal was to eradicate Tb in livestock by 2026 and in possums by 2040.

Ospri southern South Island programme manager Eric Chagnon said the result was ''excellent''.

Dogs should be kept on a lead in both the new operation areas, and at Flagstaff while warning signs were in position at access points.

As a precaution, the operation area will be on lead-only for 12 months after the last time toxin is used.

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