Pest baiting begins

Aerial baiting has begun at Macquarie Island as part of the world's largest effort to eradicate rabbits and rodents. Environment Minister Brian Wightman told Parliament yesterday that 70 per cent of the first of two aerial baiting runs had been completed.

The $24 million program, jointly funded by state and federal governments, aims to protect the island, 1500 kilometres south-east of Tasmania. The team has increased to 28 to find and bury carcasses to limit birds scavenging on them. An earlier attempt at aerial baiting last winter failed because of windy and cloudy conditions.