DOC is planning a large-scale pest control operation using cereal baits containing the pesticide sodium fluoroacetate (known as 1080). The baits will be applied by helicopter across approximately 30,000 ha of the ranges this spring.

The pest control is needed to protect at-risk birds from a predator plague. Monitoring has shown rodent numbers in the Northern Ruahine have skyrocketed this year. In May 2018, only 1% of tracking tunnels showed signs of rats; this exploded to 61% in May this year and the numbers are still climbing – in August it was up to 74%.

“We know a plague of hungry predators are coming for our taonga species. We’re planning to carry out pest control to give at-risk species a fighting chance this breeding season,” says Moana Smith-Dunlop, DOC Manawatu’s Operations Manager.

Read more on this from the New Zealand Government