Molesworth Station in the South Island, is a publicly owned park managed by NZ’s Department of Conservation…
“…up to 4,000 deer were killed in that one 1080 operation!! …
IT SHOULD BE REMEMBERED THAT THIS AERIAL POISON OPERATION WAS TO KILL POSSUMS – NOT DEER !
It should also be remembered that pigs, goats, and birds were killed in unknown numbers at Molesworth as well. Insects feeding on poisoned carcasses are killed. Birds are killed when they feed on carcasses ( hawks, falcons ), on poisoned insects, (owls and the smaller insectivores) or on the baits themselves.”
By Carol Sawyer
Eight helicopters dropped toxic 1080 bait at 2kg/ha on a 61,200ha area in late October, 2017. This iconic high-country station is owned by the people of New Zealand and is a recreation reserve managed by the Department of Conservation.
Molesworth Station is a massive 180,787 ha and a further two aerial 1080 drops (ca. 60,000 ha each) were planned. These were deferred “after the initial possum control operation [in] 2017 killed more deer than expected” an Ospri spokesman told the NZ Herald, 17 August, 2018
A hunters’ survey at the time, of approx. 10% of the 61,200 ha poisoned area, reported 345 dead deer – whole family groups. As it was Spring (late October) there will have been fawns left to starve.
The Marlborough branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association then commissioned a survey of the whole area aerially 1080 poisoned, “to assess the amount of collateral damage done by 1080 poison” and to “inform the public debate”. They hired helicopters “to methodically sweep 60,000 hectares of the country’s largest high-country farm, Molesworth Station, counting the number of by-kill deer after the toxic poison drop.”
The survey and its results have never appeared.
On Feb 14, 2019, it was announced that the results of the survey, together with a report by Lincoln University PHD student Kaylyn Pinney would be released to the public “within a month”.
Here we are, March 22, 2019, and the report has still not been made public. It is now nearly 18 months since the aerial 1080 poison drop.
HOWEVER – last night, March 21, 2019, there was a meeting of the Upper Clutha branch of the NZ Deerstalkers’ Assn held in Wanaka. Approximately 25 people attended. A representative from OSPRI, Jennifer Lawn, was in attendance to talk about their TBfree programme, and in particular the results of their aerial 1080 poisoning of the Timaru Creek area, Lake Hawea, 20 June, 2018.
Lawn (OSPRI Operations Extension), when giving figures on how many deer are killed by 1080 poison, volunteered the information that 92% of the total deer population on Molesworth Station were killed by the October, 2017 poison drop. (Joel Lund was in attendance and he wrote this appalling figure down.) (1)
If 345 deer were killed in 10% of the station originally surveyed, and the kill rate is 92%, that means that presumably up to 4,000 deer were killed in that one 1080 operation!! No wonder OSPRI “deferred” the remaining two thirds of Molesworth Station.
IT SHOULD BE REMEMBERED THAT THIS POISON OPERATION WAS TO KILL POSSUMS – NOT DEER !
It should also be remembered that pigs, goats, and birds were killed in unknown numbers at Molesworth as well. Insects feeding on poisoned carcasses are killed. Birds are killed when they feed on carcasses ( hawks, falcons ), on poisoned insects, (owls and the smaller insectivores) or on the baits themselves.
(1) James Knapp, who was Health and Safety Manager for OSPRI at the time of this 1080 drop confirmed today that he considered the 92% figure to be correct.
(2) “An admission by the old AHB after a local poison op in 2002 admitted that 85% of the deer in the drop zone would have been poisoned. That admission came only after we persisted in hassling them after we found 18 dead deer.” – Lew Hore, Oamaru
(3) This deer and fawn are not from Molesworth, as NO information has been allowed into the public domain from the Molesworth 1080 drop. The photo is to help illustrate what happened, that’s all.
Header Photo: Screen shot from Taupo 1080 Drop, CGNZ
Poster below – by James Smith
If you are new to NZ’s 1080 poisoning program here is a good article to start with …
A must watch also is Poisoning Paradise, the doco made by the GrafBoys (banned from screening on NZ TV, yet a 4x international award winner). Their website is tv-wild.com. Their doco is a very comprehensive overview with the independent science to illustrate the question marks that remain over the use of this poison. There are links also on our 1080 resources page to most of the groups, pages, sites etc that will provide you with further information to make your own informed decision on this matter.
If you are pro poisoning of the environment, EnvirowatchRangitikei is not the place to espouse your opinions. Mainstream would be the place to air those. This is a venue for sharing the independent science you won’t of course find there.