WET JACKET PENINSULAS, FIORDLAND, AERIAL 1080 POISON DROP STARTS – WEEP FOR THE KEA!
By Carol Sawyer
“So, here they are again and this time DoC have done a wee conjuring trick and say it is for stoats (there being no rats). Stoats don’t eat 1080 baits.”
“We have an estimated 1,000 Kea left in the wild in New Zealand….. in the whole world in fact, as they are endemic – i.e.they exist only here! The latest 1080 poison drop in the Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, February 2020, killed 50% of the Kea. More than that will die in the Wet Jacket Peninsulas drop because it is midwinter and the Kea are very hungry.”
Do you know what happens to 1080-poisoned Kea? They stagger around taking hours and hours to die. They bury their heads in the snow to try and get relief from the pain. Dr.Jo Pollard says “The keas’ deaths will be horrific, with extreme muscular spasms going on for many hours.” David Attenborough called them the most intelligent bird in the world. They are the world’s only alpine parrot.
Three BK-117 helicopters – ZK-IME (a.k.a Big Red the Rescue Helicopter), ZK-HJK,(white), and ZK-HEM, (red and white), and a Longranger, all belonging to HeliOtago Ltd, left Dunedin at 6.30 pm this evening heading west to be in place for starting their evil work tomorrow morning. Seven choppers arrived at Monowai tonight… yet to find out if they are all HeliOtago Ltd or if three are from another company. I have been told HeliOtago Ltd flew the prefeed baits from a private farm property at Monowai, last weekend.
This area has never before been poisoned. The drop was planned for last October but there were NO rats so it was postponed and, I am told, the poison that had been brought south for the drop was instead used in the Kepler Mountains drop last March, which was squeezed in just before lockdown…. I’m informed they added on the Princess Mountains to use all the extra poison up. No monitoring done there apparently.
So, here they are again and this time DoC have done a wee conjuring trick and say it is for stoats (there being no rats). Stoats don’t eat 1080 baits.
I can tell you what it WILL kill in large numbers… Kea. As the area has never before been poisoned there are many Kea reported to be in the area. (A while back a pilot sent me a photo of seven Kea that landed beside him when he touched down there.)
We have an estimated 1,000 Kea left in the wild in New Zealand….. in the whole world in fact, as they are endemic – i.e.they exist only here! The latest 1080 poison drop in the Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, February 2020, killed 50% of the Kea. More than that will die in the Wet Jacket Peninsulas drop because it is midwinter and the Kea are very hungry.
The Empire of the Dept of Conservation, greedy helicopter companies, and all their parasitic acolytes WILL fall… but it will be too late for the Kea.
Any of you gutless DoC employees reading this who put your personal livelihoods before your knowledge of this travesty and the horror it entails, and keep your mouths shut pleading “I can’t afford to lose my job”… hang your heads in shame why don’t you! You know who you are!
Ditto the local media who know about this drop and are too scared to touch it and tell the truth. You know who you are too.
Peter Shadie Director, IUCN World Heritage Programme IUCN World Headquarters Rue Mauverney 28 1196 Gland Switzerland email: email@example.com
11 June 2020
Dear Mr Shadie
Re: Government poisoning of World Heritage sites in New Zealand – Open letter
I am writing to bring your attention to the serious issue of the New Zealand Government’s aerial poisoning of a World Heritage site and hope that you will urgently contact the World Heritage Committee so they may act on this matter. The 40,000 ha Wet Jacket area is to be aerially poisoned this month under contract to the government’s Department of Conservation (DoC). This poisoning is not justified as the appropriate scientific or technical measure necessary for the conservation of this site, and would breach New Zealand’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention.
The contractor’s application to DoC (attached) to poison the Wet Jacket area describes a hotspot of biodiversity, home to at least 17 species of endangered birds as well as 25 other species of birds. Six species of lizard have been recorded including the rare Fiordland skink. The invertebrate fauna is described as “not fully explored” and “distinctive and important” (Contract Wild Animal Control, 2019).
The 1080 poison to be used is broad spectrum, affecting organisms that breathe oxygen (ERMA, 2007). It is added to cereal food baits and distributed from hoppers carried beneath helicopters. The distribution process creates fragments (Morgan et al. 2015) and dust (Wright et al., 2002). Native lizards, birds and invertebrates are all known to feed on the cereal bait (ERMA 2007). The poison is highly toxic, readily contaminates despite stringent precautions, travels rapidly in water and up food chains, causes reproductive defects across a vast range of species and has highly variable effects which remain poorly understood, with studies being sparse and of poor quality (ERMA, 2007).
Due to poor monitoring, effects of 1080 poisoning on populations of most NZ native animals are unknown (ERMA, 2007; Whiting-O’Keefe & Whiting-O’Keefe, 2007). Only six species of birds were reported as reliably monitored through 1080 drops. Of those, fernbirds suffered most with an estimated 9% loss of the local population per poisoning (Fairweather et al., 2015). Kea have also been intensively monitored, with the finding that on average 12% of birds are killed per operation (DoC, 2016).
The Application to poison the Wet Jacket area shows significant shortcomings, as follow.
The reason given for poisoning the Wet Jacket area is to “protect the health and integrity of the flora and fauna susceptible to predation by rats, stoats and possums.” It lists animal species it considers particularly in need of protection: bats, kiwi, parakeets, kea and fiordland crested penguins.
These claims of susceptibility are not referenced or supported by scientific observations. In fact, it was concluded twice that predation was not a problem to kea (Jackson, 1969; Elliot & Kemp, 1999). Short-tailed bats were considered relatively safe from predators, being fast and agile, fiercely mobbing intruders and choosing winter roosts that were inaccessible (Lloyd et al., 2005). “Evidence” of predation of long tailed bats was just an observed association between low bat survival and high rat numbers (Pryde et al 2005; O’Donnell et al., 2011). Doc has attributed failures of some of its invasively monitored bird nests to predators, however they are not representative of undisturbed nests (Ellenberg et al., 2015).
Known costs left out of the Application include negative ecological effects from aerial poisoning. In many cases, rat numbers rebound to vast new heights within months (Innes et al., 1995; 2010; Powlesland et al., 1999; Ruscoe et al. 2008; Sweetapple et al., 2006). This effect can decimate prey such as invertebrates (Sweetapple & Nugent, 2007). Re-poisoning of rats is likely to become less and less effective due to the rats learning and developing physical tolerance (Byrom et al., 2013; Mitel, 2016; Pollard, 2016). Thus the Eglinton Valley (also in World Heritage site Fiordland National Park) has just received its fourth aerial poisoning in five years (2014, 2016, 2019, 2020). Despite increasing the intensity of the poisoning for rats in September 2019 (DoC, 2019a) another poisoning was carried out this May.
Mouse numbers usually increase soon after aerial poisoning (Innes et al., 1995; Sweetapple & Nugent, 2007, Ruscoe et al., 2008). The increases in rodents during the months after poisoning create ideal conditions to for stoats to flourish (Byrom et al., 2013). In addition, stoats that survived aerial poisoning were found to switch from eating rats to eating native birds (Murphy et al., 1988).
The Application contains no discussion of the conservation importance of the loss of kea, with previous studies indicating a 12% loss of local birds is expected. DoC claims that kea in remote areas are unlikely to get poisoned, however 9% of marked birds were killed by 1080 in an area chosen by DoC to represent remoteness (Kemp et al., 2016 unpublished). The total number of wild kea left is unknown and possibly less than 1000 ((Bond & Diamond, 1992; Harper, 2012; Roy, 2016).
Issues not addressed
Important issues left out of the Application include how much bait will enter the marine area; what effects there will be of baits, fragments and dust in the littoral zone (e.g. on penguins) and in the productive areas of shallow, still water; what will the effects be of the predicted “zero grazing ungulates” (being the last large grazing animals left); what are the chances of cold weather killing off rats in winter if they are left unpoisoned; should a highly diverse, unexplored ecological community be poisoned to try to make it better; what will be done if pest animal numbers are low, without poisoning.
DoC has a strong track record in misleading, pro-poisoning behaviour. It intrudes on nesting birds, attaches equipment to them and their nests, blames predators for nesting failures, then uses the poor nesting results to justify predator control (e.g. for kea (Kemp et al., 2014, unpublished), mohua (Elliott 1996), kiwi (Waterworth, 2019) and kaka (Moorhouse et al., 2003)). It quotes increased “nesting success” as an indication of a bird population’s positive response to poisoning, but nesting success is likely to increase if a population is culled (Nilsson 1984; Arcese & Smith 1988). “Five minute bird counts” are used by DoC to assess bird numbers. This method is notoriously unreliable (Westbrooke & Powlesland 2005; ERMA 2007; Green & Pryde 2012; Hartley 2012), due to major problems such as bird calls increasing after poisoning as birds try to find their dead partners and family, or search for new company.
DoC’s pro-poisoning bias and lack of scientific honesty are also apparent in its publications. For example a stoat plague that followed DoC’s aerial poisoning at Okarito (Kemp et al., 2015, unpublished) was truncated from the published graph (Kemp et al., 2017), despite this being an important outcome. In another example, in a study on bats after a 1080 operation, the contents of one bat roost tree had spilled onto open ground. Inspection revealed a baby bat with placenta attached, which tested positive for 1080. Other roosts in the study were inspected for dead and dying bats by roost camera “where practical” (Edmonds & Pryde, 2015). The published paper has a re-worded section of the original report that now insinuates all roosts were searched equally for dead babies (Edmonds et al., 2017).
The claim that some Eglinton Valley birds are prospering due to DoC’s 1080 poisoning (Minister of Conservation’s media release 11/4/20) is impossible to make: poison in bait stations and trapping are used to try to control mammals in the Eglinton Valley and any separate effects of 1080 cannot be assessed. Mohua (including some from the Wet Jacket area) were restocked there in 2010, 2015 and 2017.
Due to low rodent densities the Wet Jacket area poisoning was postponed in October 2019 (DoC, 2019c). The poisoning has since been promoted in the media as being needed to kill stoats, on the unscientific basis that local, heavily monitored kiwi chicks haven’t been surviving (Waterworth, 2020). These locally monitored kiwi weren’t even mentioned in the Application. There may be a very low stoat kill rate if there is a lack of poisoned rats for them to eat. If the poisoning proceeds regardless of low pest numbers, this will not be unusual. Makarora was poisoned in 2017 for rats despite low numbers (data accessed 22/3/17 via Official Information Act request); poisoning of Arthurs Pass in 2019 went ahead with no rats (data accessed 8/10/19) (mice were present but 1080 pellets are not usually eaten by mice (Fisher & Airey, 2009).
A fraction of the resources being used to poison the Wet Jacket area could support careful, scientific studies of the biodiversity and ecology of the area before a management plan is decided upon. Where populations of rare organisms are considered in immediate danger, localised, benign management can be applied, such as tree banding and caging, and protecting nesting kiwi and kea from DoC staff.
I trust you will act to prevent the unfounded wholesale poisoning of this precious site.
Dr Joanna Pollard (BSc (Hons), PhD)
See the IUCN reply to Dr Pollard below references.
Arcese, P., Smith, J.M., 1988. Effects of population density and supplemental food on reproduction in song sparrows. Journal of Animal Ecology 57: 119-136.
Bond, A., Diamond, J., 1992. Population estimates of Kea in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Notornis 39: 151-160.
Byrom, A., Banks, P., Dickman, C. & Pech, R., 2013. Will reinvasion stymie large-scale eradication of invasive mammals in New Zealand? Kararehe Kino 21: 6-7.
Contract Wild Animal Control, 2019b. Completed DoC Application form for predator control in the Wet Jacket Area. 34 pp.
DoC, 2016. Aerial 1080 in kea habitat. Code of Practice. NZ Department of Conservation Unclassified document. 24 pp.
DoC, 2019a. Application for DoC permission to use vertebrate VTAs assessment report: Clinton and Eglinton catchments. 11 pp.
Edmonds, H., Pryde, M., 2015. Eglinton Valley lesser short-tailed bat monitoring programme 2014/2015. DOCDM 1568082 15 pp.
Edmonds, H., Pryde, M., O’Donnell, C., 2017. Survival of PIT-tagged lesser short-tailed bats (Mystacina tuberculata) through an aerial 1080 pest control. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 17: 186-192.
Ellenberg, U., Edwards, E., Mattern, T., Hiscock, J.A., Wilson, R. & Edmonds, H., 2015. Assessing the impact of nest searches on breeding birds – a case study on Fiordland crested penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 39: 231-244.
Elliott, G., Kemp, J., 1999. Conservation ecology of kea (Nestor notabilis). WWF-NZ Final Report 1 August 1999, 64 pp.
Hartley, LJ 2012. Five-minute bird counts in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 36: 268-278.
Innes, J., Kelly, D., Overton, J., Gilles, C. 2010. Predation and other factors currently limiting New Zealand forest birds. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 34: 86-114.
Innes, J., Warburton, B., Williams, D., Speed, H., Bradfield, P. 1995. Large-scale poisoning of ship rats (Rattus rattus) in indigenous forests of the North Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 19: 5-17.
Jackson, J.R., 1969. What do keas die of? Notornis 16: 33-44.
Kemp, J., Orr-Walker, T., Elliott, G., Adams, N., Fraser, J., Roberts, L., Mosen, C., Amey, J., Barrett, B., Makan, T., 2014, unpublished. Benefits to kea (Nestor notabilis) populations from invasive mammal control via aerial 1080 baiting. Department of Conservation. 29 pp.
Kemp, J., Cunninghame, F., Barrett, B., Makan, T., Fraser, J., Mosen, C., 2015, unpublished. Effect of an aerial 1080 operation on the productivity of the kea (Nestor notabilis) in a West Coast rimu forest. Department of Conservation report. 15 pp.
Kemp, J., Hunter, C., Mosen, C., Elliott, G., 2016, unpublished. Draft: Kea population responses to aerial 1080 treatment in South Island landscapes. Department of Conservation, 14 pp.
Kemp, J., Mosen, C., Elliott, G., Hunter, C., 2018. Effects of the aerial application of 1080 to control pest mammals on kea reproductive success, New Zealand Journal of Ecology 42: 158-168.
King, 1984. Immigrant Killers. Introduced Predators and the conservation of birds in New Zealand. Oxford University Press.
Moorhouse, R., Greene, T., Dilks, P., Powlesland, R., Moran, L., Taylor, G., Jones, A., Knegtmans, J., Wills, D., Pryde, M., Fraser, I., August, A., August, C. 2003: Control of introduced mammalian predators improves kaka Nestor meridionalis breeding success: reversing the decline of a threatened New Zealand parrot. Biological Conservation 110: 33–44.
Morgan, D., Hickling, G. 2000. Techniques Used for Poisoning Possums, in TL Montague (ed. The brushtail possum: biology, impact and management, Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, pp. 143-153.
Murphy, E., Clapperton, B., Bradfield, P., Speed, H. 1998. Effects of rat-poisoning on abundance and diet of mustelids in New Zealand podocarp forests. NZ J Zoology 25: 315-328.
Nilsson, S.G., 1984. The evolution of nest-site selection among hole-nesting birds: The importance of nest predation and competition. Ornis Scandinavica 15: 167-175.
Pollard. J.C., 2016. Aerial 1080 poisoning in New Zealand: Reasons for concern.
Powlesland, R., Knegtmans, J., Marshall, I. 1999. Costs and benefits of aerial 1080 possum control operations using carrot baits to North Island Robins (Petroica australis longipes), Pureora Forest Park. NZ J Ecology 23: 149-159.
Roy, E.A., 2016. New Zealand kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, faces extinction
Westbrooke, I.M., Powlesland, R.G., 2005. Comparison of impact between carrot and cereal 1080 baits on tomtits (Petroica macrocephala). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 29: 143-147.
Whiting O’Keefe, P., Whiting-O’Keefe, Q., Aerial monofluoroactate in New Zealand’s forests. An appraisal of the scientific evidence. 89 pp.
Wright, G., Booth, L., Morriss, G., Potts, M., Brown, L., Eason, C. 2002. Assessing potential environmental contamination from compound 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) in bait dust during possum control operations. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Science 45: 57-65.
4) Nelson Lakes National Park, Lake Rotoiti, Mt Robert and the headwaters of Lake Rotoroa, 34,000 hectares (notified by VCS Marlborough, July 1 to August 31, but not yet poisoned)
5) Mt Te Kinga forests, Lake Brunner, West Coast, 3,700 hectares, (notified, RNZ news item 29 May, but not yet poisoned)
6) Punakaiki, West Coast, 43,000 hectares (notified by VCS Greymouth, but not yet poisoned)
7) Buller South, West Coast ( Paparoa Range as well as foothills and Pakihi terraces between the Buller River and Four Mile Road south of Charleston), 18,500 hectares (notified, OSPRI, July 2020)
8) Radiant Range and Mokihinui, West Coast, 72,460 hectares ( notified, OSPRI, July 2020)
TOTAL HECTARES (including Waitutu) = 390,000 hectares and 780 tonnes of 1080 poison baits.
How could I have been so wrong?! I seriously thought a pandemic and its ensuing economic chaos would put an end to aerial 1080 poison. I thought the government might have a last blast but this is something else. Jacinda’s Labour Government has turned 1080 poisoning and trapping into a make-work scheme. The only income this scheme makes is from the TAXPAYER!!!
I think the only thing that will end aerial 1080 poison and this mad desire to kill everything introduced into our forests will be nuclear war.
Photo – Lake Brunner, West Coast, South Island from ‘100% Pure New Zealand’, 🤣,Tourism NZ
Thanks to the GrafBoys once again for their brilliant research & tireless work in exposing the dangers of 1080 poison. Visit their TV Wild website for more of their work. Particularly, a must watch is their award winning doco called Poisoning Paradise.
Canterbury University toxicologist, Professor Ian Shaw, discusses the toxicity of 1080 poison, and also the mysterious mis-diagnosis of the three family members from Putaruru who were reportedly poisoned by botulism …
I was sent recently a NZ Herald article about NZ’s Dept of Conservation (DoC) teaming up with Ngāti Porou to protect the Raukumara Forest Park:
“Iwi including Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Ehutu, Ngāi Tai, Whakatōhea and Te Aitanga-ā-Mahaki, and affiliated hapū, have occupied and continued to maintain mana whenua on all flanks of the ranges.
DoC, which administers the park, was working on a co-ordinated approach regarding its management.
The last large-scale possum control operation was 20 years ago involving aerial application of 1080 pesticide. The region was free of tuberculosis (TB), which was partly why there had been little 1080 focus. There had also been strong local opposition.”
On reading the article I was reminded of Reihana Robinson’s well researched book on 1080 use in NZ called ‘The Killing Nation’. In brief she describes what she terms DoC’s ‘take a Māori into the bush’ strategy outlined in a Landcare Research paper by Chrys Horn & Margaret Kilvington titled ‘Maori and 1080’. The paper investigates how to gain iwi ‘agreement’ to use 1080. It’s about ‘building trust’ they write as ‘research is, by itself, not sufficient to allay community & iwi concerns.’
They are clearly aware and acknowledge that ‘Iwi concerns are substantial’ citing ‘loss of native birds, poisoning of deer and dogs, the potential effect on water supplies and human health, and how poison disturbs spiritual principles.’
The authors, says Robinson, “focus on mind control. They don’t call it mind control. They use the term ‘perceived control’ and it is this underlying psychological construct that must be communicated to ‘help’ Maori communities adapt to change and adversity”. How to get agreement on the use of 1080? … don’t focus on the merits of 1080, convince them of the “merits of pest control or eradicating Tb”.
Robinson describes Horn & Kilvington’s ‘paternalistic clanger’ … “that ‘it is the element of choice that is important rather than the quality of the options’.” They proceed to cite examples where local iwi agreed to 1080 without public outcry … ie ‘how to sell poison to Maori communities’.
Horn & Kilvington then stoop to the ultimate tactic of LYING by claiming there IS an antidote to 1080 poisoning. Patently untrue says Robinson.
Yes we environmentalists know that there is no antidote to 1080. That’s not rocket science at all.
“At a time when communities are increasingly negative about the use of 1080, time and resources must be allowed for consultation processes” say Horn & Kilvington. They are concerned that DoC staff do not “recognise the difference between information and consultation”.
(Note, environmentalists who have attended these consultation meetings will concur that the people with genuine concerns are not heard and the meetings are steered by the person at the front to effectively exclude them & to achieve a predetermined desired outcome. This manipulative method is called the Delphi technique, a method used also by councils when they ‘consult’ with you, see below the article).*
Proceeding to the main point here … Robinson describes “the critical role of Urewera Maori within DoC disclosed in the Landcare paper”… “DoC tried to give ‘all the community groups involved a high level of perceived control over the possibility of aerial drops in the area’.
So DoC transported Maori into the Uruwera bush to show “damage caused by possums” and their effect on “birdlife”. DoC’s ‘take a Maori into the bush’ strategy did not work on Moehau in 2013.’ The lunches and the helicopter tours failed as described …
…then DoC went ahead & dropped the poison anyway.
Are you getting the gist now of DoC’s ‘consultation’ and what it really means?
I am going to add a pdf file here of this particular chapter of Robinson’s book so you can read it for yourself. (She did give me permission to quote and to reproduce the chapter for your perusal). Perhaps you may be interested to purchase her book to read the entire scope of concern environmentalists both Maori & Pakeha alike have about the use of this Class 1A Ecotoxin in NZ’s environment. And about how DoC ‘get around’ Māori opposition and the need to consult.
Here is a link to the pdf of the chapter by Reihana Robinson:
HUMAN BEINGS FALL BETWEEN THE CRACKS WHEN IT COMES TO 1080 POISON
by Carol Sawyer
I did a post earlier today about the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Official Information Act response to an OIA request. Their response (see below) quoted the Animal Welfare Act. The AWA said “If a non-target animal is killed despite using 1080 in accordance with the approved controls, then there is no offence committed under the AWA (section 30A (5))”.
With regard to the AWA comment Peter Marshall pointed out, on ‘Upper Clutha Community Notices’ Facebook page, that “… that includes humans then.”
I thought Peter was onto something, (well, wouldn’t you ?) and I wrote a Facebook post about it. However later, when looking at the section regarding “interpretations” in the AWA I found that, for the purposes of the Animal Welfare Act, humans are not classed as animals.
So I deleted my post. Apologies to those who had shared it.
But that is pretty interesting really, isn’t it? The Animal Welfare Act says we are not animals. What are we then?
Also, if as a human being you suspect you have suffered 1080 poisoning you can’t get tested either, despite many ‘Dept of Conservation’ signs at 1080 poison drops saying that if you suspect poisoning you should contact the National Poisons Centre.
See my conversation with the National Poisons Centre here:
The said kea will be undergoing post mortems. We wait with baited breath for the outcome, and can likely be sure that they, like the Sth Is North Beach rats, weren’t poisoned by 1080 it being mere coincidence their demise (like the North Beach rats & other various items of marine life) just happened to follow an aerial drop of the deadly Class 1A Ecotoxin. After all 1080 is ‘not very harmful to humans’ even NZ children are taught at school, and let’s remember it only targets pests like stoats, rats and possums. Well, so we are told. And in this case well they say it could be the public’s fault for feeding them in the first place. Doesn’t make sense that does it? If only pests are targeted, then it’s not working. They can’t have it both ways. EWR
DOC threats director Amber Bill said there was a concern the tracked kea may have been exposed to human food around the tramping huts in the valley, potentially making them more vulnerable to picking up 1080 cereal baits.
“While we are confident that predator control operations benefit kea populations at large, it’s upsetting to lose six birds.”
The 1080 drop followed the biggest forest mast in 40 years, which fuelled rodent plagues and created a spike in stoat numbers that posed a serious threat to ground-nesting kea and other native wildlife, she said.
Previous research found kea had increased survival and nesting success when 1080 was used to control rats and stoats.
While the risk of 1080 to kea in remote areas was low, it increased with birds that had leaned to scavenge for human food.
MORE THAN 250 DOGS KILLED BY 1080 POISON IN ONE HIT !
( Chatto Creek, Central Otago, NZ – ca. 1957 )
Story by Murray Ellis, via Karen Hore, posted by Carol Sawyer
Murray writes :
“Back in Chatto Creek in about 1957 the local Rabbit Board were dropping carrot slices laced with ‘1080’ poison out of Tiger Moths (aeroplanes) somewhere around Clyde. Stan Lewis was the boss and somehow his daughters gave their pet horse some of these left over carrots. The horse died. Stan, still not knowing what killed the horse, cut it up. He was in control of Rabbiters who had about 300 rabbiting dogs. He dropped some fresh meat off to each Rabbiter over a 50 km radius.
We knew Dan Engstrom and he had about 60 dogs at Chatto Creek. We got back from rabbiting and saw a large slab of fresh meat outside the front door. The dogs had not had fresh meat in a while, so Dan let 60 dogs attack the meat. Some just sniffed and walked away. Over 48 hours most of those dogs went crazy, frothing at the mouth, some strangled themselves on their chains.
We were 10-12 year old kids at the time ,and it left a horrible memory to see those dogs suffer. Only about 8 of those dogs survived . Other Rabbiters lost most of their dogs as well. So a simple accident can kill a horse, and the poison in the horse meat kill over 250 dogs. Even in the 1950’s they didn’t know what they where dealing with, and even now they probably still don’t know what they are playing with.”
On 11th and 12th February, 2020, 1080 poison was dropped by helicopter in the Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park. The loading zone was on Mt Aspiring Station, in a paddock beside a public road. Three helicopters belonging to Way to Go Heliservices Ltd, and two JJ Nolan Transport Ltd trucks were there, as well as support staff and security.
1) Spillage…..in photos here you can see baits have been dropped on the grass (grass later to be eaten by stock, no doubt) and two workers are picking them up and tossing them into an already overloaded hopper.
2) Crazy behaviour by helicopter company…..the helicopter pilot in ZK-HKW has bare legs and face and hands!!! What part of ‘deadly Class 1A ecotoxin’ do these guys not understand? Do they think skull-and-crossbones signs are just for pirate ships?
3) The food chain….. a mob of sheep are driven past the drop as it is happening, along the road beside the loading zone, film crew in attendance. I wonder if they filmed the poison operation!
4) “Baits might sting when they hit you” ….tourists and trampers who had called into the DoC office prior to coming up the valley were surprised to see a 1080 operation underway. They reported that DoC Wanaka had not informed them that would be happening. I was told that, when asked about this, a DoC staffer at the drop said it was OK to be inside a 1080 drop but the baits might hurt a bit if they hit them.
This has been the standard DoC Wanaka stance since the 2014 operation it seems. Tourists visiting the DoC Wanaka office on the day before the December 2, 2014 aerial 1080 drop on the Matukituki catchment reported to me that they were told they could go into the drop zone on the day of the 1080 drop but that “the baits weigh as much as a $2 coin” and might sting if they hit them. DoC Wanaka even stated this in an article in the Otago Daily Times in 2014! https://www.odt.co.nz/…/1080-poison-drop-matukituki-valleys…
5) No proper signage….there were NO poison warning signs up on the day of the drop… only the map of the drop zone and a sign explaining DoC’s ‘Battle for Our Birds’ programme.
6) Hiding ID…..At least one of the security guards present had covered his ID number with tape so it couldn’t be seen…. more on that later in a separate post.
PS: Please note this is not the area where female tramper, Stephanie Simpson, sadly lost her life recently… as some are speculating. My thoughts are with her UK family. It has been so sad to think of their receiving that first phone call that their daughter was missing, and now the worst news of all.
DoC WANAKA STILL HAVE SAME CARELESS ATTITUDE TO 1080 POISON THAT THEY DID IN 2014!! MATUKITUKI VALLEY, MT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK
“While the toxic pellets are targeting rats, stoats and possums, they each weigh the same as a $2 coin and a department spokeswoman advised park concessionaires yesterday they presented a danger to people on the ground.
”Therefore, for safety reasons, it is strongly recommended that people avoid entering the pest control area while the helicopter operation is taking place,” she said.” Otago Daily Times, 24 November, 2014
The baits might hurt if they hit you ?! Note the ODT article doesn’t say who “SHE” is, but one can presume it is DoC Wanaka spokesperson at the time, Annette Grieve.
This article was indeed verified when tourists reported to me, in the days prior to the aerial 1080 toxic bait drop on December 2, 2014, that they had called into the local DoC office and were told they could go into the drop zone on the day of the 1080 drop but that “the baits weigh as much as a $2 coin and might hurt if they hit you”.
MATUKITUKI VALLEY AERIAL 1080 DROP, (11th and 12th February, 2020)
The story is still the same. Again, in last week’s 1080 drop of 11th and 12th February, 2020, tourists reported that they had called into the DoC Wanaka office before coming into the Matukituki Valley and were not told a 1080 poison drop was happening. Joel Lund asked a DoC staffer at the loading zone about it, and he repeated DoC Wanaka’s party line…. that the baits might sting if they hit you.
No poison warning signage was in place. Is this a policy of the Wanaka area ? The same thing happened at last year’s OSPRI 1080 poison drop at Luggate… no 1080 poison warning signage!
Photo: Alpine Helicopters Ltd of Wanaka at aerial 1080 poison operation, Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, 2014
Thanks to the Graf brothers for this video. It is fact not fiction note. For all those who deny the by kill and particularly the endangered birds. Go figure. Scatter a Class 1A Ecotoxin around like lollies and what do you expect? It kills everything that breathes & cannot target specific pests as we’re told. See Dr Meriel Watts‘ info on that. EWR