The Department of Conservation (Doc) said 56 hunting parties in the Landsborough Valley — from about Bruce Bay to Haast — were affected.
South Westland operations manager Wayne Costello said the beech mast (seeding) prediction for 2023 indicated rodent numbers were unlikely to meet the threshold for a control operation in the Landsborough in 2023-24.
However, recent rodent tracking showed critical levels, suggesting beech seeding and subsequent rat breeding were higher than predicted.
An urgent predator control operation would start in January.
"This work is critical to further protect the species that have been benefiting from predator control at this site," he said.
The poisoning operation would usually occur in November or December but the timing of the review, which showed what was actually happening with rat numbers, meant the soonest work could start was January.
The poison would be dropped only a month or two before the 2024 roar, affecting those with allocated blocks in the Landsborough, Clarke and MacFarlane areas.
Doc contacted the 56 groups affected, because they were within the footprint of the 1080 operation or because the buffer area extended into their blocks, offering different options.
Of those, 42 chose to retain their block allocation and go hunting; six chose to go into a special second chance draw; six chose to cancel and roll their block/period into the 2025 roar; and two cancelled and were refunded.
In years when beech seed heavily, rats (and then stoats) boom too. When the supply of beech seed is exhausted or germinates, these predators target birds and nests.
— Greymouth Star