Risk-based pest control


Eradicating wildlife TB

New Zealand's TBfree programme aims to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from New Zealand by 2055. 

To achieve that, TB must be eradicated from possums, the proven maintenance host of the disease in New Zealand.  

A key part of the TB plan is to amend the design and implementation of TB wild animal control and surveillance so that we can deliver greater efficiencies and results on a reduced budget. 

The risk-based approach

About 100 areas of New Zealand bush and farmland have a detailed plan for TB eradication.  

These TB Management areas have unique geography, disease patterns, and possum control history. 

Identifying targets: Highest risk passing TB to livestock 

The TBfree programme prioritises where possum control will take place by concentrating work in: 

  • areas with the highest risk of TB passing to livestock  
  • which have never been controlled for TB purposes before  
  • where TB has been found in wildlife  
  • and where eradication can be achieved quickly. 

Measuring success

This more risk-based approach enables TB eradication with a reduced budget. It makes financial sense to concentrate resources where risk is greatest.  

Pest management decisions  

To make the best pest management decisions, OSPRI weighs up these considerations: 

  • how many possums are there, and how widespread is infection
  • what is the risk of TB spreading to livestock
  • what is the urgency of possum control to interrupt the infection cycle? 

Economically, OSPRI also considers: 

  • the cost of completing eradication according to the agreed timetable. 
  • how possum control best complements the livestock TB testing programme. 

Measuring sucess

The success TB testing and pest control programmes is demonstrated by reducing numbers of infected cattle and deer herds and by proving 'freedom from TB' in wildlife.  

Wildlife surveys, and ongoing testing of livestock, confirm TB eradication work. 

Once freedom from disease is declared, wild animal control and surveillance can cease for TB purposes. 

This will be achieved systematically through the risk-based approach. Then New Zealand can say "The TB-free future has arrived". 

Find out more, check your TMA at ospri.co.nz