A bur­row ‘mine­field’

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

An in­fes­ta­tion of rab­bits on land be­side Lake Dun­stan is cre­at­ing a ‘‘haz­ardous mine­field’’, a com­mu­nity spokesper­son says.

The Pisa Moor­ings Com­mu­nity Group is lob­by­ing the Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict Coun­cil, Land In­for­ma­tion New Zealand and Otago Re­gional Coun­cil to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the es­ca­lat­ing prob­lem.

Group chair­man Luke Win said rab­bits were run­ning ram­pant on land be­side Lake Dun­stan and ad­ja­cent to the Pisa Moor­ings com­mu­nity, about 10km from Cromwell.

‘‘You have got three or­gan­i­sa­tions that all point the fin­ger about who is re­spon­si­ble for what. The most con­struc­tive thing would be to get all three around a ta­ble at the same time so they can’t play dodge­ball. We have got rab­bits run­ning up the street, peo­ple have got them in their yards. There is a lovely recre­ation area with a walk­ing and cy­cle track run­ning through it but how can you en­joy it when it is rid­dled with bur­rows? It is a mine­field.’’

The sit­u­a­tion needed to be treated with ur­gency, and the ap­proach needed to be a ‘‘con­certed ef­fort’’ with pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, he said.

‘‘Rab­bit proof fenc­ing around the perime­ter of the com­mu­nity is one of the bet­ter op­tions but we all have to be on same page to get it done.’’

LINZ biose­cu­rity man­ager Dave Mole said the or­gan­i­sa­tion proac­tively car­ried out rab­bit con­trol on the land it man­aged around Lake Dun­stan to en­sure it com­plied with the Re­gional Pest Man­age­ment Strat­egy.

‘‘We’re al­ways open to meet­ing and co­or­di­nat­ing with com­mu­nity groups, ad­ja­cent landown­ers and other agen­cies. LINZ has not been con­tacted about rab­bit is­sues on land we man­age.’’

LINZ was tak­ing part in a joint rab­bit con­trol op­er­a­tion on the Lake Dun­stan fore­shore, north of Pisa Moor­ings, over the next few weeks where num­bers had ex­ceeded ac­cept­able lev­els, he said.

Mayor Tim Cado­gan said any so­lu­tion should come from the wider landowner group.

‘‘We all know that just tack­ling bits here and there will never be an ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion...Coun­cil has and will con­tinue to work to­gether with other land­hold­ers, as part of any wider landowner pro­gramme. Coun­cil will take its lead from ORC as it is the reg­u­la­tory agency.‘‘ coun­cil land. A landowner to the north of the coun­cil re­serve was also us­ing pin­done.

‘‘There will be no 1080 used on coun­cil land. There is a 30-me­tre buf­fer on ei­ther side of the track and away from houses. Af­ter the sec­ond bait drop the con­trac­tor will be spend­ing two days pick­ing up car­casses.’’

There was signage in the area warn­ing peo­ple should not touch the bait, closely su­per­vise their chil­dren, and keep their dogs on a lead at all times. The signage also showed an im­age of the bait - a cut car­rot coated with the green toxic so­lu­tion.

The method cho­sen was an ac­cepted mea­sure un­der the Otago Re­gional Coun­cil’s Pest Man­age­ment Strat­egy and had also been con­sented by the South­ern Dis­trict Health Board.

The drop will pro­ceed Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 9 and again on Au­gust 16, but was weather de­pen­dent.

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