New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1999) 23(2): 289- 292

New technology for poison delivery

Research Article
Rod McDonald  
Jo-Anne Short  
Lynn Cate  
Kirsty Lyall  
Rob Orchard  
  1. Technology Development Group, HortResearch, Private Bag 3123, Hamilton, New Zealand

A long-life poison bait dispenser, consisting of a tree-mounted platform that dispenses a highly attractive liquid bait only when triggered by actions characteristic of a possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), was developed. The liquid bait formulation prevents deterioration due to the action of oxygen, moisture, bacteria and insects. The prototype is designed to dispense 100 lethal doses of poison, and is expected to last more than five years in the field without attention. The equipment is designed to avoid fouling by algae, debris or nesting insects. The selectivity for possums provides a low risk of exposing non-target mammals, birds and insects to poison. A reset delay reduces the likelihood of over- consumption of bait.