Published on Nov 17, 2017
Published on Sep 25, 2016
Published on Nov 17, 2017
Published on Sep 25, 2016
Published on Oct 25, 2017
It is very clear we need better accounting of numbers with this poisoning programme.
As this letter by Ron Eddy in yesterday’s Otago Daily Times points out, in 2014 at the start of it’s ‘Battle for the Birds’ programme, the Dept of Conservation claimed there were only 1000 to 2000 Kea left in the wild.
To summarize the info in this letter:
Published on Sep 2, 2016
The Department of Conservation is refusing to confirm or deny that 1080-laced baits are being handled at a Port Nelson warehouse across the street from a bar-restaurant and close to several other businesses.
A forklift was loading tandem trucks with bales of baits yesterday at AS Fiskevegn House, a blue-and-white warehouse over the road from the Anchor Restaurant & Bar in Vickerman St.
Charter boat operator Barry Bird, working on his boat in the area, was surprised and alarmed to find that the baits were being stored and transported from there for several weeks, with no warning signs on the road side of the building or its fence.
When the Nelson Mail took his concerns to DOC, it said they had three storage facilities in operation at Port Nelson. Only one housed poisoned baits, with non-toxic baits at the other two.
DOC wouldn’t say which of three places held the poisoned baits, or where at the port the other two facilities were.
Bird, who is a hunter but said he wasn’t a member of the Ban 1080 Party and wasn’t totally opposed to the poison’s use in predator control, said his concern was about public safety. He believed 1080 was highly toxic. “It’s a major hazard.”
Port dust was always blowing on to the site behind the Anchor Restaurant & Bar where he had been working on his boat, he said. Pedestrians often walked past No 45 but there were no signs telling them it was a 1080 bait facility.
“They wouldn’t have a clue about what’s going on there. If there was a fire or anything here and the wind was blowing the wrong way, this could be catastrophic.”
The baits were in shrink-wrapped bags but a forklift could pierce one, he said, letting out dust.
“There’s plenty of rural places they could store it where in the event of a catastrophic event, they wouldn’t pollute everybody.”
DOC spokeswoman Trish Grant said there were 73 tonnes of non-toxic bait and 150 tonnes of toxic bait in storage in the port industrial area. Non-toxic cereal baits are dropped first to encourage rats and possums to eat them, with poisoned baits dropped as a follow-up. “The 1080 bait is being stored, handled and transported strictly in accordance with Hazardous Substances and New Organism Act (HSNO) requirements,” Grant said.
The bait containing 1080 was in a storage facility secure and appropriate for storage of hazardous substances, with warning signs in place at the building’s entrances. Exact locations were being kept secret for security reasons.
Grant said the bait had been stored since May, and was primarily for use in Nelson-Marlborough as part of the Battle for the Birds programme to protect native species against the predator boom caused by this year’s beech mast. Grant said the bait was bagged and shrink-wrapped in pallet loads at the Whanganui factory.
“In one instance, some bait was re-baled inside one of the secure Nelson storage facilities.”
1080 is toxic to humans but the Ministry for Primary Industries says that to “get sick” you would need to eat at least 100g of carrot baits; drink more than 5000 litres of water in one sitting from a waterway directly contaminated by a poison drop; or eat at least 37kg of meat, in one sitting, from sheep that died of 1080 poisoning.
The Nelson Mail
By Carol Sawyer
The 1080 poison for this operation had apparently been stored in the DoC office in the CENTRE OF TOWN, 20 Joan Gaskell Road, for approximately six weeks, unbeknown to the Mayor of Thames, Coromandel District Council, maybe also unknown to the Fire Chief, and apparently unknown to the other tenants of the building. DoC were caught out breaking all the rules, in other words !
I should add that the New World Supermarket is across the road, (photo above) Countdown is 24 Joan Gaskell Road, so virtually next door. The 1080 poison was surrounded by food outlets in other words.
As well as this the 1080 poison was apparently stored in another tenant, Platinum Homes’, storage area. Platinum Homes, I am told, knew nothing off this and are furious.
Below are Google Earth street view photos, showing that this was a completely unacceptable place to store 20 tonnes of 1080 poison !
It must be remembered that sodium monofluoroacetate (Compound 1080) is a World Health Organisation Class 1A Eco-toxin, with no known antidote, and banned in most countries.
This situation was uncovered by a young man who lived over the fence in a housing estate because the smell of the cinnamon in the 1080 baits was recognizable in the air!
Another reminder from the GrafBoys regarding the dropping of 1080 into our waterways. A clip from the recent election campaign for Ban 1080 party. See links to their site & channel on our 1080 pages. All other links and resources can be found here.
Published on Sep 19, 2017
DoC SET TO POISON OFF REMAINING KEA
by Dr Jo Pollard (BSc (Hons, PhD))
Posted to Facebook by Carol Sawyer
“The species is now on the brink of extinction” Dr Jo Pollard
“The New Zealand Government’s Department of Conservation (DoC) is embarking on its largest aerial poisoning programme ever this year and endangered kea (Nestor notabilis), NZ’s mountain parrot, are almost certain to die.
DoC has a very long history of poisoning kea. Aerial poisoning with food baits laced with sodium monofluoroacetate (“1080”) was found to be killing kea more than 50 years ago and the species is now on the brink of extinction. Although the government has made no attempt to formally assess numbers, some estimates in 1986 and 1992 were already as low as 1000 birds. There may be very few kea left. Complete absences are being reported in areas of human activity (tramping huts, ski fields, car parks) where they have traditionally gathered.
In DoC studies over the last decade, an average of 12% of marked kea have been reported dead immediately after aerial 1080 poisoning, with a range up to 78%. Now that DoC are embarking on even more intensive, more extensive 1080 poisoning, there seems to be little hope for the species’ survival in the wild.
How is it that a government department charged with conserving species can cause this carnage?
New Zealand’s conservation management has reached a critically low point where science and ecology have been abandoned in favour of feverish poisoning of “pest” species. Tellingly, DoC recently described itself as a “pest control agency”.
According to DoC, it is pests that are endangering kea, therefore the outcome of poisoning will be beneficial. There are serious flaws with this idea.
Firstly, aerial baiting with 1080 poison is very poor at controlling pests, including mice, rats and stoats. Mouse numbers rise almost immediately afterwards; it is thought mice may be able to detect the toxin in food baits and that they flourish because competing species are poisoned off. Rat numbers are usually (not always) low immediately after poisoning, but they breed and re-invade rapidly and within months are typically far more numerous than before, often reaching plague levels. Stoats are sometimes killed, sometimes not (they have to eat poisoned prey to die, because they do not eat the cereal baits), but survivors and invaders can flourish post-poisoning as numbers of their main prey species, rats and mice, escalate. Surviving stoats are also known to turn to eating native birds after poisoning, when rat numbers have suddenly plummeted.
DoC’s answer to this problem is to now increase the frequency and intensity of poisoning. It is planning to spread double the number of baits, then if there are surviving rats, repeat the double-sowing. However that strategy does not help with the problem of non-acceptance of poisoned baits by mice. Whether rat and stoat numbers will be better controlled is unknown. In previous DoC operations, and in other pest populations (flies, laboratory rats and rabbits) repeated 1080 poisoning has become increasingly less effective because pests have developed behavioural and/or genetic resistance. One thing is for sure- kea and other rare native species will be severely at risk.
Secondly, there is no scientific evidence that mammalian pests are the main cause of the kea’s demise as is being claimed by DoC. Its own studies and ornithological studies had previously concluded (in the 1960s, 1990s and last decade) that although living in the company of stoats, kea were “relatively immune” to predation.
In the last few years DoC has made an intensive effort to prove that stoats are a major predator of kea. The evidence that its much-vaunted, very expensive 1080 poisoning programmes are killing kea has been very inconvenient and it has done its best to create the illusion that 1080 actually helps kea.
But DoC’s recent documents show only spurious, indefensible figures based on “seed rain” and contortions of historic data. Hundreds of hours of camera surveillance inside and outside kea nests have produced very little evidence of predation: at the Kea Konvention in April this year we were repeatedly shown a photograph of a stoat that was “about to get” a nesting kea, and a video that failed to run. Even if DoC’s surveillance had shown lots of predation, nest monitoring in itself is known to attract predators and cause adults to abandon chicks so such “evidence” would be hopelessly biased.
So kea are set to disappear, and DoC is set to blame pests, rather than 1080 poisoning, for their demise. The public will be none the wiser unless they are interested and motivated enough to question DoC’s propaganda.
The plight of kea should cause alarm for anyone concerned about the fate of New Zealand’s ecological heritage. Not only birds, but all air-breathing organisms including bacteria, fungi, plants and invertebrates are affected by 1080 (it interferes with the Krebs cycle used in respiration).
The toxin has a marked ability to spread: in cereal dust and fragments created during aerial spreading, in poisoned animals, baits carried by animals, urine, faeces, carcasses and water. On DoC’s own admission, reliable data on poisoning death rates exist only for six endemic birds. Of those, two (fern birds Megalurus punctatus and kea) have been found to be poisoned in large numbers. What is happening to the rest of New Zealand’s endemic species?
For the scientific basis of this article and more information on kea please see http://1080science.co.nz/scientific-reviews-of-1080/
Dr Jo Pollard (BSc (Hons), PhD) is an independent scientist, with particular interests in animal welfare, NZ’s ecology, and scientific integrity.
By Carol Sawyer
An observer at the start of the Routeburn track said “he saw a couple getting packs out of their vehicle. He asked them if they realized 1080 poison was going to be dropped from the skies the very next day. They were shocked. They had just come from the DoC Office ( and presumably paid their hut fees), and no staff member had told them about the scheduled poisoning.”
Yesterday, September 27, 2017, HeliOtago dropped 1080 poison on the Routeburn and Dart Valleys, over the Routeburn Track. They operated out of Dan’s Paddock at Paradise. ( For ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans, this is where Gandalf the Grey rode into Isengard ).
Two of HeliOtago’s now infamous Rescue Helicopters were involved in dropping the poison – ZK-HJK ( white BK-117 ) and ZK-IME ( red BK-117 ).
Shane Wilson tells me he was at the carpark at the start of the Routeburn Track, at The Divide on the Milford Road, on September 26, the day before the 1080 drop. There were 14 or 15 empty vehicles at the carpark. Some would have belonged to daytrippers, and some to people doing the four day tramp.
He saw a couple getting packs out of their vehicle. He asked them if they were walking the Routeburn Track. They were. They were Brits. He asked them if they realized 1080 poison was going to be dropped from the skies the very next day. They were shocked. They had just come from the DoC Office ( and presumably paid their hut fees ), and no staff member had told them about the scheduled poisoning.
The information sent by the Dept of Conservation to Wild Animal Recovery Operations (WARO ) members on 25 September, 2017 states :
“All tracks in the Dart and Routeburn will be closed during the drop. Nearby tracks will also be shut including the Rock Burn and Beans Burn; these closures will be up to 24 hours. Overnight trampers already within the area will be held at huts by DOC staff until operations are complete. People planning to visit these areas are advised to check with a DOC visitor centre prior to their trip”
Well these people did visit a DoC Visitor Centre and were not informed. Also, what right have DoC staff to “HOLD” people at huts ?!!!
PS: Shane had a copy of the DoC letter to WARO operators on his phone, and read it to those British tourists, informing them that they would be ‘held’ at their hut the next day. He says they were stunned.
Please read our 1080 pages for further info on the NZ Government’s practice of regularly slathering NZ with 1080, a poison banned in most other countries. Find links there for other resources on 1080 compiled by Carol Sawyer (including coverage by the Graf Brothers, creators of the must watch doco ‘Poisoning Paradise).