Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is investigating pest numbers in the red zone after staff witnessed an increase in the number of rabbits, and LINZ was made aware of concerns the community had about a growth in rabbit numbers.
Initial research has suggested large scale pest control may not be required but localised target controls may need to happen.
LINZ land and property manager, Matt Bradley, said a decision would be made about how to get rid of the pests once more data had been gathered.
"That decision is still some time away. We want to be a responsible neighbour to green zone properties, so any decision around pest control will be well-communicated".
Biosecurity expert, Brent Barrett, of environmental consultants Boffa Miskell, said they are investigating by using ink cards to record footprints and identify pests in Christchurch's red zone.
Contractors use baited tunnels, that record inked footprints from rats, mice, stoats, and ferrets. Small boards with peanut butter to attract identifiable nibbles from possums, rats, mice, and Canada geese, are also used.
The inexpensive methods allowed the team to cover a much larger area, Bradley said. He added that because they only used food lures to encourage animals to leave chew marks and footprints that are specific for that species, there are no impacts on the environment.
Where appropriate, LINZ would consult with residents on planned works and “...before we take any action, we need reliable data to make responsible and well-informed decisions on this issue” said Bradley.
The Avon-Ōtākaro Network, who want to see the Ōtākaro/Avon River and surrounding red zone land as an ecological and recreational reserve for the community, said the issue of pests is growing and “it’s not just rabbits.”