Pest control operation devastated by theft
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionMembers of the Ōtanewainuku Kiwi Trust discovered pesticides that filled 12 bait stations within the Ōtanewainuku Forest were stolen.
Date: 17 September 2018
On Sunday afternoon, Ōtanewainuku Kiwi Trust (OKT) members discovered Diphacinone pesticide baits had been stolen from 12 bait stations within the Ōtanewainuku Forest. The bait stations each contained 8 blocks of Diphacinone which were wired into the stations to specifically target rats. The pesticide was laid by volunteers and contractors of the Trust a week ago.
The Trust's monitoring team walked two bait lines and found evidence of bait station tampering with wire that held the bait left outside the stations. Removing the bait from inside the bait station would have required removing the floors, taking out the wire and bait, and then replacing the floor. Pigs and dogs are not capable of this, and it is suspected that the activity is part of a planned and deliberate theft.
The remaining bait lines will be checked over the next few days to establish the total amount of Diphacinone blocks stolen. At this stage, there is no sign of the blocks being dumped in the forest or streams.
The operation was publicly notified in August with no reported opposition from Iwi or neighbouring landowners. The bait stations were to be cleared by OKT by November.
This discovery is devastating to members of the Trust who have been dedicated to keeping pest numbers low for many years. With the season’s predicted mast seedfall and resulting rodent outbreak, the missing pesticide puts the health of the forest at risk.
It is an offence to tamper with or vandalise the bait stations, and unlawful to handle the poison unless specifically authorised. The Ministry of Health and the Department of Conservation has strict regulations for handling pesticides.
DOC is concerned about how the pesticide has been handled since its removal. The biggest concern is for dogs and livestock that may now be exposed to the anticoagulant. If you suspect poisoning, see your vet or seek medical advice immediately or call the National Poison Centre 0800 764 766.
During the baiting operation it is advised that game animals are not taken for human consumption from the control area. Warning signs are in place at all main access points to the Ōtanewainuku Forest where Diphacinone bait stations are placed.
The area is very popular for pig hunting. The Trust reported running into a pig dog with tracking collar in the area while monitoring on Sunday, but no owner could be seen. No cars were seen in the area.
DOC is appealing for any information about the theft or reports of suspicious activity in the area. Contact DOC Tauranga.
Dogs are not allowed in the Ōtanewainuku Forest.
253 Chadwick Road West
PO Box 9003
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Brad Angus, Biodiversity Ranger, DOC Tauranga
Mobile: +64 27 497 4038