Although DoC said it’s ‘UNLIKELY’ the deaths of 600+ rats found at a Westport beach were caused by 1080, independent lab testing confirms they “ALMOST CERTAINLY” were (See timeline)


by Carol Sawyer

1 – 3 November, 2019 – The Dept of Conservation aerially drops 104 tonnes of 1080 poison baits into the Maruia River catchment, to kill rats. This catchment feeds into the Buller River and out to sea at Westport.


8 November — A Westport local spots numerous dead creatures (rats, birds, marine life) on North Beach, Westport, at the mouth of the Buller River, after heavy rain.

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A dead octopus, just one of many varieties of wild and marine life found recently on North Beach, Westport


9 November – Locals collect a trailer-load of 680 dead rats, a goat, octopods, skates, sole, starfish, crabs, barracuda, monkfish, crayfish ( all bottom feeders which could have eaten 1080 baits washed to sea) and seabirds from North Beach and ask DoC for assistance.

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DoC dig a hole on the beach and bury the by dead wild and marine life washed up at North Beach, Westport

Doc dig hole in the sand and bury potentially toxic load on the beach. Freedom campers move elsewhere.

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Freedom Campers at North Beach move on after discovery of the source of the dead wildlife washed up at North Beach Westport

Buller District Council announces, on behalf of DoC, that the aerial 1080 drop at Springs Junction the previous week (Maruia catchment) “may have contributed to the problem”, and advises caution.


11 November – DoC, now moving into damage control, changes its story. On Prime TV News, West Coast Operations Director Mark Davies says ‘Doc thinks it’s 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.’

To Newshub, Davies said “… reports of dead fish and birds – along with the rats – are not consistent with the way 1080 is understood to work.”

However ‘One News’ hadn’t quite caught up with the new fairy story and said “”The Department of Conservation (DOC) said they may be victims of a recent 1080 drop 140 kilometres away in the Lewis Pass National Reserve.”

Also on 11 November, more dead rats and dead muttonbirds are discovered on a beach 8 kms north of Westport, seagulls are seen picking dead rats out of the sea at Waimangaroa Beach 17 kms north of Westport, and further reports come in of dead creatures found at Punakaiki and elsewhere..


12 November – “DOC’s West Coast regional director of operations Mark Davies said the 1080 theory was however just that – a theory – and highly unlikely.” TVNZ News


13 November – DoC’s Buller Operations Manager, Bob Dickson, clutching at straws now, announces a brand new DoC theory – The rats were committing suicide. They had run out of food and were all jumping into the rivers and rafting, dead, down to the beaches.


15 November – First independent laboratory test results returned. Laboratory scientists’ professional conclusion is that the deaths of the beach animals tested were almost certainly caused by 1080 poison.


8 thoughts on “Although DoC said it’s ‘UNLIKELY’ the deaths of 600+ rats found at a Westport beach were caused by 1080, independent lab testing confirms they “ALMOST CERTAINLY” were (See timeline)”

  1. 1080 is a mammal poison,is it likely that the dolphins are also falling victem to 1080 or do you beleive doc”s storey that the cats are the reason the dolpins are dieing?


  2. Hi Pam – further to your report on the west coast rats, a neighbour made the observation that dopey rats are being seen in the neighbourhood. We also are on the west coast (of Golden Bay). The rats are sitting and not moving when approached, easy to catch and we are seeing many running across the roads here? It’s the weirdest thing Pam. I have NEVER seen rats running across the road and it is so odd that the regular Joe Blog folk are noticing.

    A Neighbour approached the Mangarakau Swamp chairman, Robyn Jones, who adores poison and pushes 1080 and glyphosate as you will see if you read their Trust committee notes. I have attached the PDF of the poison they are using in this area and wondered if you had heard of it?. Double Tap pellet bait is what it is called and you can see from the image I emailed you, ironically it looks just like 1080. She claims it is only laid within the boundary of the swamp but these dopey rats are being seen for 20 kms from our boundary. Robin Jones claims a rat plague but as you know from the OIA that you obtained from the government, the areas that are 1080d have rat plagues in the season following the drops. They double PLUS in numbers after the 1080 poison is laid.

    We live in the Kahurangi National Park and it is a dumping ground for this lethal 1080 poison, regular drops are done here and now the farmers living on the boundary of the native bush are seeing an uptick in numbers. We also back onto the park and personally have not seen one rat on our property in 4 years because a safer trapping program is taking place by the very same ‘swamp people.’
    I can not attach this PDF to your blog so will leave this with you to do. Note they are claiming no secondary poisoning.

    This is the Swamps Trusts website

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