A WELL-KNOWN TE ANAU HELICOPTER PILOT SPEAKS OUT ABOUT THE LOSS OF KEA DUE TO AERIAL 1080 POISON
If anyone would know about Kea numbers in Fiordland, Dick Deaker would.
Fiordland helicopter pilot Dick Deaker is one of the central figures in the deer recovery industry through its peak to today. He began as a deer culler, moved from fixed wing to helicopters and then into live recovery and the “Deer Wars”.
He says :
“There has only been one Kea seen in the Earl Mountains, (Fiordland National Park), since the last big 1080 poison drop there. We rarely see any in the Kepler Mountains since the last big drop – one at the Luxmore Hut. Prior to the last drop up to six Kea hung around the hut.
Plenty of Kea on western catchments! The Grebe catchment has never been poisoned, and it is not unusual to see up to 100+ some mornings. Groups of six or more are common.
I spoke to S…. G….. of Tuatapere a couple of weeks ago. When they 1080’ed Rata Burn West last time he never saw a Kea again for two years!! It was the home of Kea!
We are watching one of New Zealand’s greatest environmental tragedies taking place! Worse than the introductions of stoats, ferrets, possums, wilding pines etc. that were all brought in by government agencies of bygone years!”
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:
DoC recently announce they have “no breed to release programme operating to help increase our declining Kea population”
DoC further announces on 28 Oct 2017 that “there are ongoing threats to wild Kea” (Bird of the Year)
DoC’s info reveals that “between 2008 and 2014 the government, DoC and Ospri aerial 1080 operations had poisoned 24 out of 199 monitored Kea”
We can never know of course how many unmonitored Kea died of 1080 poisoning in the operations (and why aren’t they testing as previously noted with Kiwi deaths to prove that 1080 is actually doing what it purports to?)
DoC info supporting the start of the Battle for the Birds programme in 2014 “claimed there were 1,000 to 2,000 Kea left in the wild
Even though the department acknowledges that the Kea population is still declining it is now claiming there are 5000 to 7000 Kea left in the wild!