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A determined team of residents are hoping to win the war on vermin on the shores of Lake Dunstan.

Pest Free Pisa Moorings chairman Ian Kemp said twice a week about a dozen volunteers were gathering with shovels and gas pellets to tackle pests such as stoats, ferrets and rabbits.

‘‘Our goal is to get our birdlife back.’’

Most of the volunteers were retired but they were hoping more residents would give a hand.

‘‘We are keen to see some young fellas,’’ Mr Kemp said.

Field manager Stu Taylor said the main challenge was rabbits.

‘‘Our priority at the moment is to get round these warrens and kill the rabbits that are in them.’’

They used magtoxin, which reacted with water to form a gas.

The tablets were thrown down rabbit warrens, given a quick spray with water and then quickly followed with dirt to trap the rabbits below the ground, Mr Taylor said.

Mr Kemp said this was a safe procedure that did not harm cats and dogs.

‘‘The gas disappears very quickly, so there is no threat to pets.’’

Magtoxin was approved by the Otago Regional Council and by the Department of Conservation and was a common way to manage rabbits by taking the oxygen out of the air of warrens.

The subdivision of about 90ha had about 400 sections and the group had been working with owners of adjoining properties to coordinate their pest approach when possible, Mr Kemp said.

‘‘Our goal is to look after the whole subdivision . . . so far we have done approximately 80 man hours.’’

The group met on Mondays and Thursdays for an hour from 9am to 10am and residents could email ipkemp@xtra.co.nz if they wanted to volunteer or help with funds, Mr Kemp said.