The Hawke's Bay Urban Biodiversity possum control programme run by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council has seen possum numbers significantly reduced in urban areas in the past nine years.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council biosecurity adviser, Rod Dickson, said possum control started on Napier Hill in 2009 and since then operations have been carried out around Hastings, Taradale, Havelock North, Waipawa and Waipukurau.

"What's really exciting is that bird counts conducted on Napier Hill have shown a four-fold increase in tui and trebling of bellbird. The increase is likely to be attributed to the increase in available food."

Possums are a nuisance around domestic properties, eating garden plants and fruit trees and inhabiting sheds, chimneys and roof spaces.

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Dickson said they were encouraging residents and local community groups to carry on control on their properties with possum bait subsidised by the regional council.

Department of Conservation Predator Free community manager, Jo Macpherson, said ordinary New Zealanders have always played an important role in volunteering their time to conservation activities.

"The Predator Free 2050 goal appears to have galvanised Kiwis even further, with thousands of groups getting up and running to take action in their own backyards or work collectively on public conservation or reserve land in or near their own areas."

She said their team of predator free rangers can connect people interested in getting involved with Predator Free 2050 by putting them in touch with a local district DoC ranger, or help with advice on tools, best practice and safety information.

They can also connect individuals with other groups in the region through the Predator Free New Zealand Trust.

DoC has also created an Online Community Toolkit that will give community conservation groups the knowledge and confidence to undertake effective predator trapping programmes in their communities.

For more information visit: https://www.hbrc.govt.nz/services/pest-control/animal-pests/possums/ and https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/predator-free-2050/toolkit-predator-free-2050/