Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


DOC is investigating the deaths of eight cattle following a successful pest control operation in Mapara.

Date:  18 September 2018

The Department of Conservation is investigating the deaths of eight cattle following a pest control operation in Mapara nearly two weeks ago.

The cattle appear to have breached a fence line in order to enter the pest control area operational area and the department is working with the landowner to ascertain how this occurred. 

Samples of the dead animals were taken for analysis and the department is expecting results back within the next fortnight.  

The pest control operation in Mapara took place on September 6 to target rats, stoats and possums using aerially applied 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) baits.

Nearly 30 years of pest control in this area has resulted in one of the most important strongholds forkōkako on mainland New Zealand and this area is a key source site for translocations to establish new kōkako populations.

The operation included comprehensive consultation with adjacent land owners which is a key aspect of all aerial pest control operations.

DOC staff were alerted to the dead cattle on a farm adjacent to the operation area. They visited the farmer, accompanied by a vet, assessed the area and took samples from the dead animals.

The site inspection indicated that cattle had entered into the operational area through a broken fence line. During a pre-flight of the operational boundary a fortnight before the drop, DOC staff noted stock in the operational area and advised the farmer to remove the stock.

DOC Operations Director David Speirs says a review of the operational data shows the aerial drop went according to plan and as agreed with all adjacent landowners.

The helicopter GPS flight lines clearly show there was no over-flight of the adjacent farm area and there was a 50-metre buffer within the operational area in place.

“We have been working closely with the landowner concerned to confirm exactly what happened,  and also to support them as any good neighbour would under these circumstances with the burial of the dead animals and we have offered to assist with feed for the remaining animals,” he said

Mapara is home to a nationally important population of North Island kōkako (recovering). New Zealand falcon (recovering) and North Island robin (at risk/declining) are also found in the reserve.


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