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Protecting native species from introduced predators in the Clinton, Arthur, Sinbad and Cleddau

The Southland App

15 February 2024, 11:03 AM

Protecting native species from introduced predators in the Clinton, Arthur, Sinbad and Cleddau

The Department of Conservation (DOC), Fiordland District, is going to control rodents, stoats and possums over 45.363ha. This is scheduled for the first clear weather window between 1st March and 31st May 2024.

Native wildlife and forests need protection.

In the Clinton, Arthur, Sinbad and Cleddau Valleys the Department of Conservation, is planning to carry out predator control to protect whio, pateke/brown teal, Fiordland tokoeka/kiwi, kākā, rock wren/pīwauwau, and bats/pekapeka from rats, stoats, and possums.

This will give these taonga species protection and allow their young to reach adulthood, as well as ensuring the next breeding season begins with a low predator base to support their nesting/rearing efforts.

Why are we controlling introduced predators? 

Native species are fighting for survival due to predation from rats, stoats and possums. Without protection, we risk losing the unique natural heritage and biodiversity within Clinton, Arthur, Sinbad and Cleddau.

Through sustained predator control using 1080, there is a big increase in breeding success for native birds, their food source is more abundant, and the forest canopy is healthier.

Our plan to protect native species.

The safest and most effective method we have to control possums, rats and stoats over large areas is to use biodegradable cereal bait pellets containing 1080. This bait targets rodents and possums. Stoats are also controlled through secondary poisoning as they feed on the carcasses of the dead rodents.

Helicopters will accurately distribute bait across 45,363ha of the forest along pre-determined and monitored flight paths. This is the safest and most effective way to control predators in these Fiordland valleys due to the vast and rugged terrain.

A small area near Milford township will be protected via hand-laying bait to avoid aerial operations close to the village & airport. Other high use areas such as around some huts and structures on the Milford Great Walk will also be treated via hand-laying bait. This is to ensure pockets of rodents and stoats do not persist around structures, but that bait is placed carefully where it will not be visible or easily accessible to the public.

This operation begins with the distribution of non-toxic pre-feed bait pellets (sandy coloured). This prepares possums and rodents to eat the toxic bait (dyed green) that is applied afterwards. Both baits are about 16 mm in diameter and cylindrical shaped.

Consultation and permissions.

DOC has consulted with hapū, iwi and key stakeholders including landowners adjacent to the treatment area.

DOC is delegated authority by the Environmental Protection Agency to decide applications for permission to use 1080 on land administered or managed by DOC. Permission has been granted for this operation. DOC has also received the required permission from the Ministry of Health. DOC ensures that all legal and policy requirements are met, and that any potential risks of the operation are managed.

Managing risk.

1080 is poisonous to humans, domestic and game animals. In areas where the toxin has been applied, dogs are highly at risk until poisoned carcasses have disintegrated. This takes four-to-eight months or longer. 

There will be warning signs placed at entrances to the treatment area immediately prior to the operation. 

Risks can be eliminated by following these rules:

DO NOT touch bait

WATCH children at all times

DO NOT EAT animals from this area or within the buffer zone outside the treatment boundary. The buffer zone is 2 km for deer and pigs, 200 m for rabbits, and 1 km for hares, tahr, wallabies and possums.  

Poison baits or carcasses are DEADLY to DOGS

Observe these rules whenever you see warning signs about pesticides. These signs indicate pesticide residues may be still present in baits and poisoned carcasses. When signs are removed, normal activities can resume. If in doubt, check with your local DOC office. Please report suspected vandalism or unauthorised removal of signs.

If you suspect poisoning, please contact:

- Your local doctor or hospital OR The National Poisons Centre: 0800 764 766 (urgent calls) or 03 479 7248 OR dial 111 

- Seek veterinary advice for suspected poisoning of domestic animals.      

For further information please contact:

Operational Planner, Department of Conservation, Te Anau District Office.

[email protected] / 03 249 0232



Contract Wild Animal Control (NZ) Ltd,

[email protected] / 0800 292 269

Visit the DOC website: More information about DOC’s National Predator Control Programme is available on our website

Map of predator control area within Clinton, Arthur, Sinbad and Cleddau Valleys

This map shows the area we are controlling rodents, possums and stoats to protect native species. You can also see operational updates and detailed maps of predator control on public conservation land on the DOC website.

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