Stoats and feral cats are key predators of some of New Zealand’s most threatened fauna and landscape-scale control tools are urgently needed. A ready-made meat bait is being developed for use in both aerial and ground-based control operations. As part of the development, two trials with non-toxic versions of the bait were undertaken: one targeting stoats in Fiordland in spring 2020 and the other targeting feral cats in the Mackenzie Basin in winter 2021. The trials aimed to assess the palatability of baits to both target and non-target species.
Brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) present an ongoing threat to New Zealand’s environment and economy. Research into additional control techniques is vital to ensure that a variety of efficient tools are available to help achieve population suppression. Encapsulated sodium nitrite (NaNO2) has been developed in New Zealand as a new toxin for possum and feral pig (Sus scrofa) control. Its toxic effects at high doses are mediated through the induction of methaemoglobinaemia, a condition in which the carrying capacity of oxygen in red blood cells is reduced.