LINZ to Tackle Rabbit Problem on Crown-Administered Land

28 May 2008

Rabbit control will be carried out at sites in seven Crown-administered riverbeds in the Canterbury region from mid June and into July, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) advised today.

LINZ's Manager Crown Property Bill Naik says the control programme will complement efforts by adjoining landowners to control rabbits in areas where Environment Canterbury monitoring indicates rabbit numbers are growing rapidly.

"We are pleased with the support we have received from the rural community and Ngai Tahu for this work. What we're doing will provide positive socio-economic and land management benefits for farmers and local communities," Mr Naik said.

Most of the work involves ground application of Pindone and 1080 carrot baits on open areas of riverbed frequented by rabbits. Potential higher use sites are being treated solely with Pindone, and 1080 will not be laid where there is a risk of baits entering water.

The riverbed sites are located on the Clarence, Hapuku, Waiau, Hurunui, Rakaia, Maerewhenua and Hakataramea rivers. Public notices providing details of the work are being published in local and regional newspapers, and prominent signs will be posted at all locations before the work begins.

Mr Naik said 1080 will be applied from a helicopter at two riverbed sites on the Waiau River. Both are large and difficult to access, making it impractical to use ground control methods. However, ground control will be used where there is a risk of baits entering water, or in some circumstances if requested by an adjoining landowner.

Applied appropriately, 1080 and Pindone present negligible risks to people, water supplies or the environment, including aquatic life and birds. 1080 breaks down rapidly in water to trace or immeasurable levels, usually within hours.

"There is no health risk in using areas treated with 1080 or Pindone as long as bait is not handled, children are supervised, and animals are not taken from treated areas for eating. Consent for each operation is received from the Medical Officer of Health, and independent water quality monitoring is carried out after the treatment" Mr Naik said.

"Dogs are very susceptible to 1080 poison, and owners are strongly advised to keep their dogs away."

Mr Naik urged the public to treat the control areas with caution for six months after the poison is laid, as a precautionary measure.

Resource consents for the work have been issued by Environment Canterbury. Adjoining landowners and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu have been consulted about the work. Where necessary, further contact is being made with other groups or organisations that may use the areas where control is taking place.

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