Possum Eradication

Project Objective
To remove all possums from Pomona Island.

Background
Possums were introduced to Pomona Island in the 1970s by locals as a source of fur. The number of possums estimated to be on the island was around 200 animals. It was important to remove large numbers of possum from Pomona prior to the Trust's planned rodent eradication programme. This was so that they could not eat large amounts of the bait that was to be spread to kill rats and mice.

No possums have ever been detected on Rona Island.

Method Used
In May 2007 Contract Wild Animal Control Limited (CWACL) was engaged to carry out a knock-down operation on the possums. Working in very difficult terrain, volunteers helped the contractor to set out a grid of over 250 leg-hold traps across the whole island. Over 430 possums were removed using this method. Some possum were also poisoned using Feratox bait placed in bags on trees towards the end of this initial operation.

In June 2008, CWACL was contracted to carry out a further possum mop-up operation. Using a network of traps and Feratox, no further possums were found.

Current Status
Some possum sign in the form of "poo" was detected in 2009. The age of the poo could not be determined so the Trust deployed over twenty possum kill-traps in the area. No possums have ever been caught in these traps and no further sign has been found. Pomona Island is considered to be possum-free.

Specific Funding
Transpower for the initial possum knock-down operation.
Lotteries Grant Board (Environment and Heritage) for the possum mop-up operation after the aerial drop.
Contract Wild Animal Control Limited for volunteer manpower.
Department of Conservation for the loan of possum kill-traps
.

Pomona Island Charitable Trust
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Photo: DOC