A man who left cyanide possum baits along a busy Department of Conservation walking track during the New Year holiday period was fined more than $2000 in Tauranga District Court today.
Waikato man Dae Van der Maazen, 37, was convicted by Judge Richard Watson for illegally applying cyanide baits at the Kaimai Summit near Tauranga at the start of this year.
Paper bags used to carry toxin bait. Photo: DOC
The Department of Conservation was alerted to the offending by a jogger who discovered the possum baits on the Henderson Tramline Track off Old Kaimai Road.
The unpermitted use of toxins on public land is prohibited under the Conservation Act 1987 and attracts penalties of up to a year in prison with fines of up to $10,000 also possible.
“In this case the cyanide toxin baits were placed in paper bags along a busy DOC walking track during the height of the visitor season,” says Tauranga DOC ranger Dave Wills.
“Our inspection of the site later revealed that bags had also become ripped and that baits were lying on the track itself, which is one of the reasons that a system of permitting and safety checking is needed.
“We encourage people to control possums but it does require a permit. These can be obtained free of charge from DOC.
“We ensure that permit holders have the right qualifications such as approved handler status and that they are following safe practises such as applying toxin well away from walking tracks and erecting signage to alert other forest users”.
Possum trapping and baiting is popular in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. Forest users can expect to see people doing this work in a safe and controlled fashion. Suspicious activity can be reported via the DOC hotline 0800 362 468.