Two NZ environmental groups reveal Westport Beach Rat Carcasses Tested Positive for 1080 Poison … they believe a precautionary approach should have been used by the authorities

Westport Beach Carcasses Tested Positive for 1080 Poison

(Posted at the Ban 1080 South Island Facebook group)

“Flora and Fauna Aotearoa and Clean Green New Zealand Trust believe a precautionary approach should have been adopted whilst testing was underway. The beach should immediately have been closed to the public as there is – and continues to be – a high risk of contamination, which is not only a risk to dogs but also a serious risk to public health. Fishing vessels in the area should be notified and additional tests to food and water supplies should be undertaken.”

Facts 4 Friday: Westport Beach Carcasses Tested Positive for 1080 Poison

Press Release – Flora and Fauna of Aoteaora and Clean Green New Zealand Trust.

Call for an Independent Investigation into the New Zealand Environmental Catastrophe.

Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa and Clean Green New Zealand Trust are calling for an immediate halt to all aerial 1080 poison operations and an independent investigation into the environmental catastrophe that has led to hundreds of dead wildlife washing-up on a Westport beach, South Island, New Zealand. Independent tests of samples collected by volunteers from the area confirm the presence of substances that indicate the deaths were almost certainly caused by 1080 poison. The incident comes a week after an aerial 1080 poison operation almost 140kms away in the Buller/Maruia catchment by the Department of Conservation (DoC). Numerous other poison pest control operations in the surrounding area have been completed, and even more are planned.

On Saturday November 9, after torrential rain, photographic evidence confirmed how hundreds of dead rats, many marine species, birds and other animals were washed down the flooded Buller River, onto the beach and into the ocean. Tourists camped on the beach were shocked to see the apocalyptic scene. According to locals, “they gathered up a trailer load of over 600 rats, plus dead crabs, crayfish, monkfish, barracuda, skates, sole, starfish, seabirds, octopuses, a goat, and more.” At that time, it was unclear what had caused the deaths and no action was taken other than DoC erected a sign that warned dog-owners of the risks. The contaminated carcasses were buried in a shallow hole on the beach. These will now need to be re-located to an appropriate hazardous waste facility, in line with the poison manufacturer’s instructions.

Flora and Fauna Aotearoa and Clean Green New Zealand Trust believe a precautionary approach should have been adopted whilst testing was underway. The beach should immediately have been closed to the public as there is – and continues to be – a high risk of contamination, which is not only a risk to dogs but also a serious risk to public health. Fishing vessels in the area should be notified and additional tests to food and water supplies should be undertaken.
The Department of Conservation West Coast operations manager Mark Davies has suggested that “it is unlikely the rats were poisoned by 1080 in a recent drop, then washed out of the hills by heavy rain. I just can’t imagine that the two are connected,” he said. However, this kind of event has been documented before, both in the Coromandel and near Dunedin, South Island. Newshub also reported, “Davies doesn’t think 1080, a controversial poison used in pest control, is the cause, because reports of dead fish and birds – along with the rats – are not consistent with the way 1080 is understood to work.”

However, Davies’ statement and similar frequently touted claims that 1080 poison is biodegradable and doesn’t affect aquatic life or birds is inconsistent with the scientific data, the manufacturer’s safety data and with hundreds of eyewitness accounts. In Russell State Forest last year, two days after a highly controversial aerial 1080 poison operation, dead eels, fish and birds were found floating in the river by local residents. There were also reports of eels dying in last year’s Hunua Ranges aerial poison drop, which included the poisoning of waterways feeding Auckland’s drinking-water supply. Reports in the Greymouth Star warn the public not to eat trout from the Buller River.

1080 poison is well-known for causing a cruel and prolonged death through direct and secondary poisoning. 1080 is not species-specific and can harm all lifeforms that require oxygen to live. Professor of toxicology at the University of Canterbury, Ian Shaw, has this to say about the toxicological effects of 1080 poison. “1080 could spell death to any cell it enters. It does not discriminate between cells or target animal. Providing the cell has the citric acid cycle it is doomed. The only way to target the effect is to use baits that a particular pest prefers (e.g. carrots for possums), but even then if another animal eats the 1080-laced bait it will die, as might animals that eat poisoned carcasses.” Many bird and aquatic species were scavenging poisoned carcasses from the Westport beach area. The fate of that wildlife is unknown. Secondary poisoning presents a very serious problem and will result in more collateral damage down through the food-web. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa co-ordinator Asha Andersen says, “It’s likely we will see further deaths as the carcasses and bones of the poisoned animals remain toxic for years. Seabirds, other wildlife and aquatic life have already been seen feeding off the carcasses and carrying them away, some likely to nests where they have young. Because 1080 poison is a hormone-disruptor, those creatures that don’t die could suffer from reproductive harm or DNA damage. There is also very real danger to humans who come in contact with the toxic carcasses or fish that have had sublethal exposure.”

It is high time all those in authority listen to concerned New Zealanders, who, for decades, have been publicly questioning the extremely harmful policies that promote the repeated indiscriminate poisoning of our natural spaces and wildlife, often with no rationale. We need to be vigorously questioning the integrity of the Environmental Protection Agency when they allow the use of such toxic chemicals in our environment with such dire consequences. Asha says, “When those charged with protecting our natural spaces are the ones wilfully destroying them and then covering it up or justifying the harm – there is something seriously wrong – and that needs to change now.”

To the people of New Zealand and our trading partners, we are in an environmental crisis. Our voices matter. There is a serious lack of confidence in the Department of Conservation, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Primary Industries, and Ministry of Health for this negligence of their duty of care. Due to the unintended consequences of aerial poisoning we are calling on our Government to immediately halt all aerial poison operations and to establish an independent investigation into this harmful practice, including initiating public health studies.

Flora & Fauna of Aotearoa, Incorporated Society 2735472
website: www.floraandfaunaaotearoa.co.nz
Clean Green New Zealand Trust Registered Charity CC54185
website: https://cleangreennz.wordpress.com/
Tel +64 (0) 27 268 1947

18 thoughts on “Two NZ environmental groups reveal Westport Beach Rat Carcasses Tested Positive for 1080 Poison … they believe a precautionary approach should have been used by the authorities”

    1. Yes I’m aware DoC have finally published their results. The independent testing, we will have to wait I’m afraid. There is more to come from them. For obvious reasons they are protecting the identity of the lab for now. I can assure you though the source is reliable.

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  1. Yes, I see where Kim is coming from, But we cannot take this Lightly Because 1080 poison has now been found in Milk as well, So it is hard to find Clean Water or Milk now

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  2. Would be nice to have some pubic help. EnviroMate100 is preforming really well, was designed 2009 and started commercialisation in 2014, enviroMate100 were field tested at 1 pest control person scale (450ha over 14 days) whilst participating in routine DOC performance paid contracts 2017. Both independent contractor using enviroMat5e100 and traps and our enviroMate100 and toxin work is delivering 05-2% rtc results, rats can and are targeted where permitted. To date all our funding assistance applications have been declined. After Christmas a large shipment of 3600 will arrive, if used in operations they could target another 16000 ha every 28 days or permanently maintain deployed area. We have had no DOC paid work since 2017

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  3. ‘I wouldn’t like to speculate that maybe ‘most’ of the carcasses are wat Doc’s Employee’s ‘WERE SUPPOSED TO RETRIEVE’ after a 1080 drop?..I’d even ‘Speculate’ that half the ‘Dead’ are ‘BURIED IN MASS GRAVES!!!..and NOT REMOVED!..how do We feel SAFE about these Carcasses bn left in Our Forests walkways,..and some very close to Streams/Rivers n Waterways!.’DOC’S LIES ARE GOING TO COME UNDONE and JACINDA I’d dearly love to see u ‘GO AGAINST THIS CONTINUED FARCE of PEST CONTROL and SHOW THE SAME COMPASSION TO MAORI and NEW ZEALANDERS ALIKE,THAT YOU GAVE TO ‘OTHERS’ in CHRISTCHURCH!!..’WHERE DOES UR ALLEGIANCE LIE PRIME MINISTER?..definitely not with ‘YOUR HOME,COUNTRY OR YOUR PEOPLE!..

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  4. For years I developed a biodegradable one kill trap that could be species specifically baited . It was made of paper and would survive (if not triggered) for up to 3 months in our bush,then it would decompose. A single operator could carry 100 with comfort. We got unemployed !
    1080 has no place in our environment. Look at the undergrowth in drop zones it does not exist any more.
    There is no plausible reason to use a poison that is not target specific in such a diverse environment. The Department Of Carelittle or less sucks as a body.

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  5. What concerns me is my grand children live on coast, house receives water from fresh water creek . How are they allowed to drop this near homes . All to late if gets into there water.

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    1. Kim I always press for folk to exercise the precautionary principle. Don’t drink that water. Research the options. We have no guarantee against poisoning because DoC insist it is not dangerous, against all independent science. Search ‘1080, water’ in our search box here for articles on that topic. The retired MD Charlie Baycroft has been speaking out & saying if we die from 1080 nobody will know because the medical people are being bullied by MOH not to test for it & that is bearing out in experience. See our 1080 pages & suspected poisonings. So yes, take all precautions to protect yourselves.

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  6. Why is it not Headlines on TV. All quiet. Because its Docs. Fault. How much of the sea life does 1080 kill or effect. Whitebait. Etc. BAN 1080

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