Research article Animal Control in Westland Protection Forests
The productive land in Westland is confined to a narrow strip between the mountains and the sea. It is essential that this land be protected for future economic development. Adequate protection will be determined to a large extent by our ability to resolve the problems associated with introduced animals in the protection forests, which cover most of Westland's mountain country. Introduced animals, particularly red deer, chamois and opossums, are depleting and damaging this protective vegetation, and causing serious erosion in a number of vital catchments. Past animal-control operations have not been concentrated enough and we are now faced with a major problem of control, which is being developed by means of intensive team shooting and aerial-poisoning programmes. Assessment of browsing pressure by numbers of animals and vegetation condition poses a number of problems, as does assessing the results of the different control measures adopted. Four major problems and the methods being developed to overcome them are described.
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