Zero Invasive Predators Ltd (ZIP) has received permission from the Department of Conservation (DOC) to proceed with the aerial 1080 phase of our programme of research and development in the Perth River valley, but weather and other conditions currently prevent the operation going ahead for the foreseeable future.
The permission will enable us to maintain our efforts to develop a promising new approach to completely and permanently remove introduced predators from large mainland areas, in order to help New Zealand’s native biodiversity to thrive.
If successful, the approach will have particular relevance for the more than one million hectares of similar landscapes in South Westland.
The permission is conditional on ZIP completing two actions in the treatment area to minimise the risk to kea, namely: (i) locating tahr carcasses to provide an alternative food source and foraging focus, and (ii) applying non-toxic repellent bait to induce an aversion to cereal baits, prior to applying the toxic bait.
Since the inception of the programme of work, we have worked with kea experts from the Department of Conservation to identify and minimise the risk to kea of the programme of work in the Perth River valley.
We’re very grateful for their help. And we’ll continue to strive to help kea flourish, both locally and nationally.
As for when the aerial operation will go ahead, the application of the predator removal approach is subject to local environmental conditions, particularly wind, rainfall and snow cover.
We will not proceed with the aerial 1080 operation until we are confident that it will completely remove all possums and significantly reduce rats and stoats. The current conditions in the Perth River valley are, however, not suitable to proceed with the aerial 1080 operation for the foreseeable future.