Methods of pest control

A range of pest control methods are used by the Department of Conservation (DOC), depending on the scale and urgency of the pest problem, the type of pest, and the accessibility of the area being treated.

Graphic showing up to 70% of kiwi chicks survive to breeding age in areas that have predator control.

Ground control

Traps and bait stations are the main types of ground control used. Their design and toxins target specific pests, and they are designed not to attract or harm other species.

It is effective but labour intensive. DOC maintains over 180,000 traps, and spends more than $5 million each year on stoat and rat trapping.

Where possible, DOC works with local communities and councils on joint pest control projects.

Aerial control

Aerial drops of 1080 are used in areas that are too remote or too difficult to access on foot, or when pest plagues overwhelm trap and bait stations.

The operations are carefully planned and are guided by GPS technology.

Aerial pest control is cost effective and reduces pest populations of possums, rats and stoats simultaneously in a much shorter timeframe than ground control methods, which can cost more than three times as much.

Find out more about 1080 poison for pest control 

Fur recovery

DOC supports the fur recovery industry. But fur recovery does not reduce possum populations enough to allow the recovery of forests and native species. Bounties for possums are not used in New Zealand.

Find out more about possum fur recovery and bounties

Wild animal control plans

Wild animal control plans identify native species most threatened by introduced animals, and set objectives for how DOC will control these animals. DOC aims to involve interested groups during the preparation of these plans.

Find out more about wild animal control plans

Research into alternative and new pest control methods

DOC and the Animal Health Board jointly spend more than $2 million a year working with universities, Crown Research Institutes and private companies to develop new methods of pest control.

Find out more about developing new tools for pest control