The TBfree programme aims to progressively eradicate TB in possums through control work in TB Management Areas. This is achieved by managing possum populations (possums spread TB between wildlife and livestock) with ground and aerial operations.
This map shows the extent of TBfree pest control and survey operations in support of TB eradication in livestock and wildlife over the past decade. Operations proposed for the near future can be found in the OSPRI disease management operations consultation document.
Dogs are highly susceptible to 1080 and other vertebrate toxic agents (VTAs). Please read and follow the directions on any signage posted in pest control areas.
OSPRI is dedicated to ensuring pet owners are kept well informed on pest control operations. Notification will be sent to clubs and animal care providers, and signage will be placed in areas where dogs are exercised. If you'd like more information, call our Support Centre on 0800 482 463.
OSPRI conducts pest control and surveillance operations that target possums and ferrets to help protect New Zealand against predators and disease. Stoats and rats are secondary targets as they feed off toxic possum and rat carcasses after a pest control operation. Possums and ferrets are identified as the main vectors which spread TB. To eradicate TB, possums and ferret populations need to be reduced and kept low to ensure the disease is removed from the population. Added benefits to the reduction of possum and ferret numbers is native vegetation, bird and bat species are less likely to be predated on.
Possums and ferrets are the main targets of TBfree control programmes. Possums browse on native vegetation, reducing the habitat and food sources available for native wildlife species.
Possums are known to prey on native birdlife including eggs and chicks. If the possum population is reduced, native species have a higher chance of survival.
OSPRI works with Southern North Island community groups to protect native species throughout the region. TBfree possum control operations and bait station work to reduce predator numbers, and ongoing work from community groups ensures predator numbers stay low. Low predator numbers have seen kiwi, kaka and other native species thrive in the region.
These community groups include:
OSPRI works towards TB freedom through a variety of methods:
Pest control operations are mostly ground based, supplemented by aerial control and wildlife surveys.
Predator free volunteers and other conservation groups are working hard towards predator freedom in the Wellington suburbs. OSPRI hopes to support these groups in their goals towards predator freedom.
One of the main challenges OSPRI faces is high urban population close to areas that need to prove TB freedom. The urban population may not have the awareness of the impacts TB has on the farming community, so may not see the need for TB control in their area.
For TB freedom to occur, the possum population needs to be reduced to, and kept below, 2% RTC (Residual Trap Capture). The RTC percentage means out of 100 traps set in one night, only 2 would catch possums. This percentage ensures reduced interaction between possums, limiting the spread of TB infection. Standard procedures are used in remote areas and farmland to ensure these low numbers are reached, may not be possible in an area where there are high urban populations, high pet populations and high recreational use. Pest control options in the Lower North Island region especially the areas within Wellington City and nearby suburbs, will require unique control methods to reach TB freedom.