Battle for our Birds Operation

UPDATE: The application of pre-feed baits planned for 14 November 2018* was postponed due to wind. Notification will be given before the next attempt is made.

*Original update: Recreational tracks in Te Apiti - Manawatū Gorge will be closed on Wednesday 14 November during aerial application of non-toxic baits for pre-feeding. 

Signage will be in place and DOC rangers will be stationed at track entrances to inform visitors during the operation.

Tracks will be closed for a second time during application of toxic baits at least five days later, at the next suitable weather window. Cereal baits containing the pesticide 1080 will be applied over approximately 900 ha of Te Apiti - Manawatū Gorge to enhance forest health and protect native wildlife. Tracks will be open as normal outside of these times.


The Department of Conservation will be conducting a pest control operation over approximately 900ha of Te Apiti - Manawatū Gorge this spring, to enhance forest health and protect native wildlife. The operation will take place between 23 October and 7 December 2018, as weather allows. Recreational tracks within the Gorge will be closed to the public for a short time during aerial application of baits on two occasions – once for the pre-feed and again at least five days later for the toxic baits. DOC rangers will be stationed at track access points to inform the public while the operation is taking place. Tracks will be open and safe for use outside of these times. Bait application requires specific weather windows, so exact dates are not known at this time but updates will be posted on our website, and to Facebook and Instagram.


The forest and wildlife of Te Apiti – Manawatū Gorge is battling for survival. Every day rats and possums kill birds and other native animals, and browse on forest plants preventing regeneration. Rat and possum numbers in the Manawatū Gorge forests are currently much higher than is accepted for forest health and successful breeding of forest birds. Due to terrain and access, ground-based control methods cannot safely and effectively treat the entire site. The road closure presents a unique opportunity to treat both sides of reserve at once.

Please click here for a factsheet that provides general information about the Battle for our Birds operation.