Fish Game Ranger Teams To Guard Against Mycoplasma Bovis
- Richie Cosgrove
Fish & Game rangers to be armed with disinfectant
Fish & Game rangers in the lower South Island will be carrying disinfection kits to eliminate the risk of transferring Mycoplasma Bovis when moving from farm to farm while conducting compliance operations during the game bird hunting season.
More than 30 farms in the lower South Island are now confirmed as being infected with the cattle disease. The Ministry for Primary Industries has announced a cull of more than 20 thousand animals in an effort to contain its spread.
The game bird hunting season begins this weekend Saturday 5 May.
Otago Fish & Game Operations Manager Ian Hadland said that while there is only a low risk rangers could spread the Mycoplasma Bovis bacteria from farm to farm, especially without direct contact with stock, it is important that risk is managed.
Mr Hadland says because rangers will largely be moving about on foot with most vehicles being left on nearby roads, they plan to ensure their footwear is disinfected before every farm visit.
Ian Hadland says Fish & Game drew up the risk management strategy following consultation with the Ministry of Primary Industries.
“MPI have been helpful providing advice on procedures and we have developed a disinfection protocol for rangers to follow which has the ministry’s approval,” Mr Hadland says.
“Because MPI won’t disclose which farms are infected, we will simply treat them all as infected and disinfect between all ranging operations on private farmland just to be sure.” Mr Hadland said
Rangers have a statutory right to be on properties to conduct compliance checks with hunters over the game bird hunting season and Fish & Game is now confident those visits will not become a vector for the spread of Mycoplasma Bovis.
Mr Hadland says the protocols were developed because Mycoplasma Bovis disease is causing anxiety in the rural community and he wants landowners to be more at ease about Fish & Game’s compliance visits over the hunting season.