In order to find out the attitudes of Otago Peninsula residents towards animal pests, a survey was undertaken by OPBG in 2009.
1900 surveys were disseminated to Otago Peninsula households. 286 of these were returned, providing a return rate of 15%.
The results below relate to the 280 respondents.
What pest do Otago Peninsula residents consider to be the highest priority?
Graph 1: The data was very similar for landowners of various sizes, from residential households to parcels of 20Ha in size. However, landowners of significantly greater than 20 Ha determined rabbits to be the greatest problem at 66%, followed by possums at 22%.
What pest do Otago Peninsula residents consider to be the second highest priority?
Graph 2: This question provided an even spread of results. Mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) were determined to be the second largest pest problem on the Otago Peninsula. Again, larger landowners of significantly greater than 20Ha properties saw things slightly differently, and viewed possums as the second largest threat (43%) followed closely by rabbits and mustelids at around 22% each.
Do you control possums on your property?
Graph 3: We observed a self-reported level of control across all land sizes of 56% (160 from 286). When viewed separately, 88% of larger landholders reported controlling possums on their properties. This was generally performed by the landowner themselves.
The majority of smaller household properties generally did not control possums on their properties (57%).
Method Of Control Currently Employed By Landowners.
Graph 4: The majority of landowners control possums by trapping. There was no stipulation between live traps and kill traps. Shooting was often mentioned as a means of killing live trapped possums. The results here are very similar to the preferred control method results shown in graph 6.
Support For a Possum Eradication Program In Principle.
Graph 5: The overwhelming majority of landowners supported the notion of a professional possum eradication program for the Otago Peninsula (96%).
Those people who did not support the idea cited various reasons, from issues regarding the use of poisons, to being sceptical of the potential effectiveness of such a program.
Preferred method of control; households and <2Ha properties.
The most common qualifier given for preferred control method was issues with the use of poisons (45%). Slightly over a quarter of people surveyed were worried about pets being harmed by poisons. Residential households also commonly mentioned concerns with poisons and traps in relation to children. 17% of respondents had an adversity to the shooting of possums. As such, trapping was the most preferred method for 63% of survey respondents.
Preferred method of control; 2-10ha and 10-20Ha properties.
Few qualifying reasons for preferred control method were given by landowners of this size. Four respondents cited issues with poison use in relation to pets and children. Again, trapping was the preferred method of control for this group.
Preferred method of control; >20Ha and larger landowners.
Once again there were very few reasons given for the chosen preferred control method amongst the larger landowners. Adversity was expressed regarding the use of poisons by four respondents. A more even spread of techniques was considered by the larger landowners.
What other considerations are important to you?
Graph 9: Shows 41% consideration to the effectiveness and completeness of such a program. The other three factors followed closely with 21% of respondents considering the minimisation of environmental effects to be an important issue (Presumably people who opted for trapping may not have considered this factor to be important as it has almost no environmental impact).
Survey Results Summary:
Results from the 15% of Otago Peninsula households who returned the survey indicate that support for a possum eradication program on the Otago Peninsula is very strong.
The consensus of opinion was very similar across landholder types with regard to:
- Number one pest priority is possums at 60%. However, larger landholders consider rabbits to be the number one pest problem at 66% (18 respondents)
- Number two pest priority is mustelids at 30%. However, larger landholders consider possums to be the number two pest priority at 43% (16 respondents)
- The most common method of possum control currently employed by residents is trapping at 61%.
- The preferred method of possum control for a proposed eradication programme is traps. 63% of smaller landholders indicated this method to be their preference. This reduced to 49% for medium sized properties, and again to 29% for larger landholders. The latter preferring a more balanced approach to possum control combining several methods.
Other important considerations expressed were an aversion to the use of poisons by residential landowners. Reasons expressed for this generally involved the safety of pets and children.