Working towards a TB-free Tasman Region
Source: Animal Health Board
Thanks to an intensive programme of herd testing, movement restrictions and large-scale possum control there are currently just two TB-infected herds in Tasman region. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk. The same strain of TB has been found in possums, cattle and wild pigs from Karamea, Murchison, Wangapeaka Valley, the Baton Valley, Upper and Lower Moutere and Golden Bay. These areas all border on to Kahurangi National Park, indicating that it is a major reservoir for the disease.
The only thing keeping the region’s 1,600 domestic cattle and deer herds safe from this significant source of TB has been the creation of a buffer zone. In this buffer, possum numbers are maintained at extremely low numbers (just one or two animals per 10 hectares) to prevent TB spreading and cycling within the possum population. Until the disease can be eradicated completely from Kahurangi National Park, these continually-maintained buffers are the most cost effective way of protecting the region’s $500 million-a-year pastoral economy.
During 2012/13, we plan to control possums across nearly 131,500 hectares in the Tasman region. Approximately 70 per cent of this work will be done by local contractors using a combination of traps and hand-laid toxin. The remaining 30 per cent comprises rugged, remote and densely-forested areas like the Haupiri, Wakamarama and Burnett ranges. In these areas ground control methods are not practical, so we will use aerially-applied cereal baits containing 0.15% sodium fluoroacetate (also known as biodegradable 1080).
Watch a short video of Tasman farmers talking about the importance of the Kahurangi Buffer
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