Tag Archives: Battle for the Birds

Although officially there are virtually no possums in the area DoC says it’s going ahead with a South Westland 1080 aerial drop anyway which in turn will create a rat plague


By Carol Sawyer

A DoC source told me today that the Hope River area had possum monitoring done and the bite cards showed there are virtually no possums in the area. I have been informed that the people who did the monitoring can’t understand why this drop is going ahead, and that DoC were thinking of cancelling it but that now, however, DoC have said that even though there are no possums there, it is too late to stop the drop, and it has to go ahead.

It’s all a bit confusing because it is an OSPRI drop and OSPRI drop 1080 for possums only, but it is also a DoC drop, as it is on DoC managed land and the map says Battle for the Birds and “rat control”. I guess with this method they’ve got a bob each way !


Of course 1080 poison, as DoC admit themselves, is no good for rat control because after an initial knock back they end up with a rat plague. I have been told by an editor of www.1080science.co.nz that the reason for rat plagues following 1080 drops is that “Nature abhors a vacuum”. After a 1080 drop there is a vacuum, the rats are the fastest breeding creature in the forest, and there is more food available.

“…..increased rat abundance following possum control is a consequence of greater availability of, or reduced competition for, seeds and fruit.”

Here is scientific proof of rat increases after 1080 drops :

“Ship rat demography and diet following possum control in a mixed podocarp–hardwood forest”


IN CONCLUSION, the drop will go ahead without justification. It will kill the non-existent possums and cause a rat plague. Good work again, DoC and OSPRI.



“The treatment area covers up to 31,338ha comprising of land between the Gorge and Jerry Rivers in the south,to the edge of public conservation land on the true left of the lower Cascade River, and part of the Arawhata Conservation Area. The area includes the Cascade, Gorge and Hope Rivers’ catchments.
We wish to advise that this operation is due to take place as soon as practicable from 10 August 2018 onwards, weather dependent.” Jennifer Lawn, OSPRI, 27 July 2018

Site of DoC’s aerial 1080 drop

Photo (Header image) Ngaire Hart : “Aerial View Mouth of the Cascade River Emptying into the Tasman Sea West Coast South Island New Zealand”



Tell me again how 1080 is saving our birds?


By Carol Sawyer

Citing a Southland Times letter to the Editor

“Originally it [1080] was developed as an insecticide by Monsanto. But its lack of selectivity of what it kills meant it was too dangerous.”

“Declaring war on behalf of nature is not possible. Nature works in unpredictable ways and will adjust to intrusions indifferent to attempts to either save or destroy it. As DOC’s 1080 War for the Birds enters its seventh decade, the rodent emerges as its clear benefactor. This confirmed by each new seed mast.

Emotive claims of the annual loss of 25 million birds and the tens of millions of tonnes of devastated vegetation defy the laws of ecosystem equilibrium. The more likely villain may be its own tool of choice, 1080. Originally it was developed as an insecticide by Monsanto. But its lack of selectivity of what it kills meant it was too dangerous. It deprives the forest of its avian food source. Starving its victims, resulting in the often noted silent forest. It also prevents the essential breakdown in forest litter, a critical factor for a healthy forest ecology. Despite the millions of squandered dollars these phenomena have never been studied by its toxic proponents. Nor has there been a reasonable explanation of why the forest seed mast has now assumed “biblical” proportions.

Indications are these seed blooms are the result of the disruption created by the insect and flora/fauna relationship. With no insects to impede growth, the seeds bloom with increased frequency and intensity. Another example of human intervention in natural systems that has gone tragically wrong.

David L Langer


The Southland Times, Letters to the Editor, August 24, 2016

Header Photo – Jim Hilton
Dead birds found over a few acres, after 270,000 hectare aerial 1080 poison drop, Kahurangi National Park, 2014.
This was the first year of DoC’s “Battle for our Birds” drops.



DOC’s dubious ‘success’ rate with 1080 – $3.5 billion, a decade later and not a single endangered bird species in recovery