Wildlife declared free of bovine TB in coastal Rangitikei
Parts of coastal Rangitikei are reaping the rewards of the Animal Health Board’s (AHB) moves to eradicate bovine tuberculosis (TB) from New Zealand.
More than 32,000 hectares of land in the region no longer have TB in wild animals, following intensive possum control, a range of surveys and scientific analysis. As a result, the area has been officially declared TB-free.
Cattle and deer farmers can be reassured that infected wild animals now pose negligible risk to livestock across around 16,000 hectares of coastal Rangitikei-Turakina and around 16,350 hectares of coastal Rangitikei-Bulls.
“Eradicating bovine TB from wild animal populations in these areas is a significant step on the road to ridding New Zealand of the disease,” said Roger Beck, TBfree Manawatu-Wanganui Committee Chairman.
“Eradicating TB from the main wild animal carriers of the disease helps protect the reputation and economic benefit of the pastoral agricultural sector, which forms the backbone of rural communities such as Rangitikei.
“It is vital that we maintain access to premium overseas markets for our high quality beef, dairy and deer products,” said Mr Beck.
The AHB will continue to monitor wildlife populations in coastal Rangitikei through surveys and post mortem of animals to ensure the area remains free of TB.
Possums are responsible for around 70 per cent of new cattle and deer herd infections in TB risk areas. The national TB control strategy aims to eradicate the disease from one quarter of the 10 million hectares of New Zealand in which infected wild animals are known to inhabit.
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