Thursday, September 19, 2013


A week or so ago
I headed out with the Vector boys
and Shell, my admin wonder,
to see a pre-feed aerial drop.

Whats a pre-feed I hear you say?
Well now that I work for TBfree New Zealand 
I'm all about eradicating bovine tuberculous in our cattle and deer,
which means I'm also all about ridding New Zealand of TB carrying possums, wild pigs, 
ferrets and the odd rat and hedgehog.
Mainly it's possums.
Those things are disease ridden nasties who go and 'kiss' cattle 
and before you know it you have cows with TB and
there is no cure.
You know what that means.

Anyway we headed out to see what the vector boys do at the crack of dawn,
except we got there at about 11am 
and bought yummy pies with us.
Cause that's how we roll.

The reason why there are aerial drops is because the country
that is being targeted for the subsequent 1080 toxin drop
is quite lumpy and inaccessible.
Basically we would prefer to put trappers in but 
they can't dangle down cliffs,
or make it through endless blackberry thorny bushes
that look like this

Ok this isn't the best representation of scrappy NZ bush
but it is what the trappers have to deal with to get traps in.

So this is why we fly helicopters over the hilly gullies.

So this Huey helicopter is about to land and pick up 
a bucket full of pre-feed.

Pre-feed is lovely yummy pellets that are dropped 
so in a fortnight when the 1080 toxin is dropped the possums,
who are silly creatures* gobble it all up.

Look Jane! The helicopter is taking off!

Look Dick!  The helicopter is coming back!

Look Jane! The helicopter is taking off!

Ok so that's pretty much what happens here.
The helicopter flies away,
flys an area on GPS grid lines,
flies back 
and then does it all over again until the area is done.
The helicopter on this day was away for about 50 minutes at a time.

This is where we were.
Except that we weren't.
The boys brought the wrong map.
Good thing they knew where to go!
We could have been stuck in the bush a million miles from anywhere.
Luckily the boys had the contractors there.
TBfree New Zealand contractors out the bulk of the pest control.
These guys are the ones who have to come up with
creative ways of making their way through the thick, dense bush to trap possums.
They get a fair few if the price is right.

* Yes I am aware that the possums we have in New Zealand originated in Australia.

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