Managing and controlling our possum population is a major part of the TBfree programme, and a large part of the work we do at OSPRI. Our pest control work is designed to reduce the number of possums that could carry and spread TB to farmed livestock.
We know we can expect to eradicate TB from an area if we reduce the number of possums to a low and even level. This means about 1 possum per 10 hectares, for a period of at least 5 years. A low number like this means the disease:
Our pest control operations include ground and aerial control, and wildlife surveillance.
Possum control is most often done through ground or aerial control operations.
We do wildlife surveys (especially on possums, pigs and ferrets) to find out if TB is still present in an area after we've completed our pest control operations. We do this by:
We do surveys in areas where we believe TB has been eradicated, and where we don’t expect to find any TB-infected possums or other wildlife.
We deliver our pest control operations through a framework of over 100 TMAs around the country. This framework helps us plan and contract our operations efficiently. Each TMA has an approximate planned target date for TB eradication.
We use the data gathered from our pest control operations to guide our future planning and measure our progress towards eradicating TB. We keep data on:
We use the data to estimate the probability that the possum population in an area is free of TB. It guides our planning for any further pest control activities. For example, if there's a high probability of TB freedom in possums in an area: