Controlled Substance Licence holders from seven different Kiwi Coast groups came together this week to lend a hand – and sturdy legs – to a poison operation in the Pukenui – Western Hills Forest on the fringe of Whangarei township.
The two day Pukenui Forest poison op was led by the Pukenui Western Hills Forest Trust in partnership with the Department of Conservation. The aim was to knockdown possums and rats over the entire forest using ratabate and cyanide. While anyone can buy and handle ratabate, a special licence called a ‘Controlled Substances Licence’ or CSL is needed in order to use cyanide. Without enough CSL holders, the operation would not have been able to go ahead as planned.
The Kiwi Coast put the word out amongst the groups to ask any willing CSL holders to come and lend a hand – and a heartening response was received!
Puketi Forest Trust, Russell Landcare, Whareora Landcare >and the Tanekaha Community Pest Control Area spending a day in the heart of the heart of the Pukenui Forest, going up hill and down dale filling bait stations with cyanide and ratabate. Day Two involved a band of Northtec Conservation Management Course students, joined by CSL Holders from Owhiwa Landcare, Manaia Landcare and the Bream Head Conservation Trust.All agreed that the sunny weather, beautiful forest and numerous streams made for a stunning but exhausting day!
With some people travelling from the Bay of Islands to assist the Whangarei operation, the willingness and enthusiasm of groups along the Kiwi Coast to help each other was more than evident and underscores the collaborative nature of the Kiwi Coast.
The Kiwi Coast ran a Controlled Substance course in 2015 after it became obvious that a lack of licence holders could thwart community-led poison operations. Twenty pest controllers from Kiwi Coast Groups gained their licences from the course and agreed at its completion that they would try to help each other when they could.
The Pukenui – Western Hills Forest Poison Operation was evidence that pact coming to fruition and makes the investment of the Kiwi Coast in running the CSL course worth every cent.
If you would like to see the results of the work for yourself there is a good track network through the Pukenui Forest that are open to the public. Take this link to find out more.