Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kaikoura Possum Control

Yesterday I visited Kaikoura. It was a lovely warm day with the temperatures getting up to 30C according to the dashboard of my car!

I was in Kaikoura to visit a possum control contractor who has begun a project to protect the farms in the area from the threat of tuberculosis (Tb) carried by possums. The bush on slopes of Mount Fyffe and surrounding mountains contain possums that move onto pasture where if they have Tb they are likely to infect the cattle and deer farmed in the area. This would be bad news for the farmers and the local economy.

The Animal Health Board funded project is using Kiwicare NO Possums Cholecalciferol Gel Bait along the bush/pasture boundaries to reduce the possum numbers and reduce the risk of Tb infection. Reducing possum numbers also has the benefit of reducing the browsing destruction caused by the possums in the bush and encourages good health and biodiversity in the bush itself. It is not well known that possums also feed on pasture, ten possums will consume grass that would have supported a sheep.

The NO Possums bait contains Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) which is effective against possums and rats. The gel bait is designed to remain effective for long periods in the field, lasting as much as 26 months even in high rainfall areas. This means that there is an effective control in place over extended periods and not just a quick knockdown which has to be regularly repeated. Because the bait remains effective for months there is much reduced need for labour to continually check and replenish baits that deteriorate.

NO Possums has other advantages; it is less eco-toxic than other baits, it does not require a licence to use it, there is low risk to dogs and other scavengers that might feed on dead possums and it is readily available from rural supplies stores or in commercial quantities directly from Kiwicare.

A possum walks into a bar and orders lunch. Once finished the possum stands up, pulls a rifle from its fur and shoots at random around the bar. There is glass flying everywhere. Finally he puts the gun away and walks tot he door. 
"Hold on" says the barman. "What was that for? Where are you going? You haven't even paid for lunch, never mind the damage."
The possum says "I'm a possum. Look it it up." and exits.
Confused the barman finds a dictionary and looks up possum. 
It says, Possum - furry pest of New Zealand, eats shoots and leaves.

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