Dead rat in play­ground after 1080 drop

Newslink - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RACHAEL KELLY

A dead rat was found in a play­ground near the site of a Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion 1080 drop, but DOC is not re­quired to mon­i­tor the area for an­i­mal car­casses.

Two chil­dren vis­it­ing the play­ground at Pi­ano Flat in north­ern South­land found the rat next to a merry-go-round at the DOC camp­site on Satur­day.

DOC car­ried out a drop in the Waikaia For­est, sur­round­ing the camp ground, on Thurs­day of last week as part of its na­tion­wide Bat­tle for our Birds cam­paign to pro­tect na­tive birds.

DOC says the camp ground is safe for campers to use fol­low­ing the drop and warn­ing signs are in place at the en­try point to the camp­ing and do­main ar­eas,

Se­nior ranger Ros­alind Cole said after a 1080 drop in the for­est in 2014 the river­bank was checked for pest car­casses as re­quired by con­sent con­di­tions at the time.

‘‘En­vi­ron­ment South­land did not re­quire this con­sent con­di­tion this year.’’

Baits were not dropped at the Pi­ano Flat Do­main and play­ground.

DOC will be mon­i­tor­ing rat lev­els at the end of this month to gauge the ef­fec­tive­ness of the pest con­trol op­er­a­tion.

ES con­sents man­ager Michael Du­rand said ES only re­quired DOC to put on sig­nage at the boundary of the area where the 1080 was dropped.

He said there was no re­quire­ment for DOC to mon­i­tor public ar­eas for an­i­mal car­casses.

‘‘It’s re­ally only the pel­lets be­ing dropped into the wa­ter that would con­cern us. We reg­u­late the po­ten­tial risk for peo­ple en­ter­ing the area where the poi­son has been dropped and that is why there is a re­quire­ment for sig­nage to be put up.’’

When ap­proached for com­ment, South­ern District Health Board med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health Dr Keith Reid said DOC would be able to com­ment on their op­er­a­tion, mon­i­tor­ing and other safe­guards in nearby public places.

‘‘As with any dead rat our ad­vice would be to not han­dle or eat it.’’

A six month cau­tion pe­riod is in place after the drop, where DOC ad­vises not touch­ing bait, watch­ing chil­dren at all times, not eat­ing an­i­mals from the area and not al­low­ing dogs to have ac­cess to an­i­mal car­casses.

A dead rat was found in a chil­dren’s play­ground at Pi­ano Flat in north­ern South­land two days after a 1080 drop had taken place in the sur­round­ing for­est.

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