1080 poison drop in Matukituki Valleys this weekend

Anyone planning a walk in the East and West Matukituki Valleys of the Mt Aspiring National Park near Wanaka on Sunday should consider going somewhere else.

Helicopter operators are planning to drop pellets laced with 1080 poison in the two valleys as part of the Department of Conservation's ''battle for our birds''.

While the toxic pellets are targeting rats, stoats and possums, they each weigh the same as a $2 coin and a department spokeswoman advised park concessionaires yesterday they presented a danger to people on the ground.

''Therefore, for safety reasons, it is strongly recommended that people avoid entering the pest control area while the helicopter operation is taking place,'' she said.

Doc staff will be on site and signs will indicate when the valley is again safe.

If the weather on Sunday is unfavourable, the pest operation could continue into Monday.

Doc also plans to carry out an aerial poisoning operation in the Makarora Valley. However, no date has been set.

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