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!”
Nearly 70% of DoC’s studies justifying aerial 1080 operations were conducted by employees of either AHB [Animal Health Board] or DOC [Dept of Conservation] with only three being published internationally (Robinson, pp 34, 35).
Reihana Robinson in her book titled ‘The Killing Nation, NZ’s State-Sponsored Addiction to Poison 1080’ cites the research of US biophysicist Dr Alexis Mari Pietak of Tufts University, Massachusetts.
Dr Pietak ‘conducted a comprehensive literature search for “peer-reviewed scientific investigations into the effects of aerial poison operations on non target fauna” and compared “the costs and benefits to native species poison operations versus unchecked possum populations at their peak density”.’
Quoting from Robinson’s book (emphases mine):
“Her research indicated aerial poisoning has “twice as many costs to native species as benefits, and that aerial poison operations were twice as costly to native species as unmanaged possum populations at their peak density.” this potential for widespread poisoning of insectivorous, omnivorous and carnivorous endemic and endangered or threatened bird species she believes is “a serious issue worthy of international and immediate action,” Namely, to immediately halt aerial poison operations.
Dr Pietak notes the few bird species that have actually been the subject of “proper radio-transmitter, colour banding, and mark-recapture analysis before and after poison operations’ are the nectar, fruit and foliage eating birds such as hihi, kereru, kōkako and kaka and are indeed most likely to benefit from possum removal. Missing from thorough research are those birds identified as being high risk of primary or secondary poisoning. They number 24 indigenous bird species. She references work by Armstrong 2001 that “notes that data derived from bird or call counts cannot be analysed to separate changes in abundance from changes in detection, due to the fact that bird behaviour is affected by the presence of a human observer. Detection rates can vary depending on the weather, human observer, and unknown bird behavioural patterns.” She states the “science seems to have been selectively interpreted, ignored, and moreover left grossly incomplete in its scope, presumably in the name of non-environmental economical interests” “
Like a growing number of researchers Dr Pietak notes the potential for bias given the large number of studies funded by AHB [Animal Health Board] or DOC [Dept of Conservation]. Of the 28 studies retrieved she finds 19 of 28, (nearly 70%), were conducted by employees of either AHB or DOC with only three being published internationally”. (Robinson, pp 34, 35)*.
* Pietak, Alexis Mari A Critical Look at Aerial-Dropped, Poison-Laced Food in New Zealand’s forest Ecosystems 2010 Creative Commons
NOTE: For further articles on 1080 use categories at left of the news page.
If you are new to the 1080 poisoning program, a must watch is Poisoning Paradise, the doco made by the GrafBoys (banned from screening on NZ TV, yet a 4x international award winner). Their website is tv-wild.com. Their doco is a very comprehensive overview with the independent science to illustrate the question marks that remain over the use of this poison. There are links also on our 1080 resources page to most of the groups, pages, sites etc that will provide you with further information to make your own informed decision on this matter.
I contacted both DOC and the Council yesterday. Two drugged pigeons were pecked to death yesterday afternoon on Rothesay Bay Beach, amid another 3 carcasses. There was a dead seagull further down the beach and a dead penguin. I was concerned not just about the cruelty to the pigeons but also with impact on the food chain; other wildlife, dogs and children on the beach. The Council Actionline said it was not their area and put me on to DOC. DOC have advised this morning that they and the council and police are aware of the situation and it is suspected to be a poison, alphachloralose, aimed at the pigeons. I would observe that the poisoning is still occurring, so be aware of this if you are going to the Browns Bay or Rothesay Bay beaches. I cannot imagine who would think this is an ok thing to do!
It is so disturbing to witness this cruelty in our beautiful neighbour hood. Early evening yesterday dead birds in clear view by the playground and beach at Rothesay also seagull pecked remains. Young family’s on their beach walks so upset to see this 😔
Browns Bay resident and co-ordinator of the local community group Friends of Sherwood, Tricia Cheel, is not so sure that it can be attributed to alphachloralose if a pigeon carcass has made a cat so ill and indeed if the penguin also died of poison, and notes that the council has recently also deposited many bait stations along the beach front, and even playgrounds in these areas, and she is presently nursing a young wood pigeon that was found on Saturday night unable to fly and very unbalanced and distressed.
(Image to left) Named Boris he (or she?) will be available for interview by appointment only!
Note the golden tufts of baby feathers and contemplate how anyone in their right mind would risk harming him / her.
Whatever the truth of the matter is it is but a mere whiff of the full horror of having these poisons used so freely throughout the country and Friends of Sherwood say that their proposed Citizens Initiated Referendum to ban all cruel and inhumane poisons is long overdue and look forward to the question being put to all New Zealand voters just as soon as possible.
Unfortunately it will take time to collect the 320,000 signatures needed but it is hoped that the whole process may be circumvented sooner rather than later, by Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who has said her government embodies kindness as well as strength, and it gives her the opportunity to demonstrate both those characteristics by acting immediately to put an end to the torture thousands of animals suffer every day, both in suburbia and in the wild.
The proposal complies with the requirements of the House of Representatives and the Office of the Clerk has advised that the question will go out for public comment on Wednesday 21st November by way of advertisements in national newspapers and notification in the New Zealand Gazette.
People will have until 11th January to comment on the wording with the final question being determined by 7th February 2019; after which time Friends of Sherwood will have 12 months to collect the necessary signatures of 10% of all eligible voters.
Co-ordinator of the group since it began in June 1990, Tricia Cheel says that although they twice successfully delayed the drop of 1080 poison in the Hunuas with interim injunctions, it eventually went ahead leaving two more families devastated by the cruel loss of their beloved dogs, and further down the line a further 8 cows were gruesomely tortured to death by this same poison dropped indiscriminately by helicopter, while countless more animals suffered agonizing deaths, mostly unseen and unheard, in the forests.
Banning the deadly 1080 poison will only go part way to addressing the problem since as more and more animals are demonised in the headlong rush to be predator free by 2050, many more animals are set to suffer similar fates with other equally cruel poisons, including brodifacoum, pindone, cholecalciferol and PAPP, with the latter specifically targeting cats.
The unfortunate by-kill includes many of the species that are purportedly being ‘protected’, but even without that inconvenient truth, as the question states, the intense and prolonged suffering these poisons inflict can never be justified.
Carol Sawyer recently drew attention to a letter to the editor by scientist Dr Jo Pollard that expresses concern over the Kea Conservation Trust’s plans.
LETTER, OTAGO DAILY TIMES, 16 October, 2018
I read your article on the activities of the Kea Conservation Trust (ODT 10/10/18) with despair. Paying no heed to the recent deaths of two pet kea that were blood sampled by DoC, this volunteer group is continuing with its blood sampling of wild kea. The group is also planning more interference with kea nests, despite high rates of abandonment and failure of nests which they have monitored previously. Normally, a female kea spends years building her nest then can use it for life. Even a preschool child knows that disturbing a bird’s nest is likely to cause abandonment and attract predators. Scientific literature backs this up. Research has also shown that stoats and possums are not normally a threat to kea nests, but other kea and falcons are and are likely to be attracted by monitoring. Science and common sense indicate that kea would be much better off left alone.
The Smarden 1080/1081 poisoning is important as an incident because it led to the banning of this chemical in the UK and later the EU. A ‘large number’ of rats and other animals died as a result of a poisoned pony used as pet food and at least 20 horses and cattle died as a result of the contaminated water near a 1080 pesticide factory. From my own read of the article & the poisonings around the factory, there were 78 domestic animals poisoned (cats & dogs), seven sheep, 20 odd cows & several calves, one goat and two guinea pigs. (There are two articles here):
The forgotten story of how a toxic spill and a book launched Britain’s environmental movement
Today we take for granted an awareness of environmental matters, but this was not always the case. It could be said that in Britain there was a moment when that environmental consciousness arrived. When in 1963 some farm animals in the parish of Smarden in Kent became sick and died, suspicions fell on a nearby pesticide factory run by a division of Rentokil Laboratories. The events that followed amounted to one of the first environmental scandals in contemporary British history – one that would galvanise the environmental movement.
It became clear that the factory, a large shed in the middle of farmland, was manufacturing toxic chemicals and that a leak of one of these, fluoroacetamide, led to Britain’s first documented livestock mass poisoning. The incident might have passed by as only a historical footnote, but instead the Smarden leak quickly became a national concern with international implications, and has cast a long shadow across the approach to intensive agriculture in the UK in the years since.
Part of why this incident had such major repercussions is due to timing, coming as it did at the same time as American writer Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in the UK. Seen as the first polemic of the environmental movement, Carson’s book was a significant catalyst to the emergence of modern environmentalism on both sides of the Atlantic.
An ecological narrative arrives
Local veterinarian Douglas Good had unique knowledge of fluoride poisoning having worked with a leading expert in South Africa and on cases of animals affected by industrial fluoride poisoning in England. Taking his cue from Carson, Good disseminated what he called a “short story” about the incident to the press, putting across the Smarden incident as not simply a local industrial waste spill, but as deadly evidence of the pervasiveness of toxic pesticides in the environment. Acknowledging his inspiration, Good concluded his narrative by declaring that the “subject of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring had become a reality here in the heart of the Garden of England”.
The media placed the Smarden incident within a Carson-inspired ecological critique of the dangers of an intensive, industrial approach to agriculture. Good, like Carson, was a trained scientist. Like her, he raised concerns about technocracy – governmental administration underpinned by scientific and technological expertise. As the Smarden incident unfolded, it highlighted the risks and hazards which accompanied the government’s commitment to industrial development. Tensions arose between veterinarians, government scientists, local government, media, and business interests.
A chemical double agent
While the use of inorganic poisons as pesticides stretches back to antiquity, large-scale use of organic pesticides is a 20th-century phenomenon. Fluoroacetamide is a toxic organic pesticide with nefarious origins.
The two world wars fostered a massive growth of the chemical industry, and fluoroacetamide was a pesticide that arose from the search for lethal chemical weapons. After the war it was approved for use as a poison for use against rodents and insects – it was not uncommon for the science, technology, institutions, and language of chemical warfare to be redirected to the problem of agricultural pest control during peacetime. But by the time of the Smarden incident in the early 1960s, the origin of these chemicals was seen as damning evidence of the perniciousness of the military-industrial complex and its impact on the environment.
by F.D.T. Good, M.R.C.V.S.
I live and practice in Tenterden near the village of Smarden in the Weald of Kent where
there is a small factory, which makes orchard sprays.
In January 1963, a man who worked at the factory brought a four-month old Labrador
puppy to my surgery. It was having convulsions and after treatment appeared to be
making an uneventful recovery. Two weeks later the puppy was brought back to the
surgery, together with its litter brother. Both were dead, having had fits earlier in the day.
The owner suspected poisoning and wanted a post mortem examination. I explained the
difficulties of this unless one knew what poison to suspect, and reluctantly he went away
not knowing what had killed his puppies which had been so well that morning.
On Benenden Fair Day, a Saturday in mid-May, I was called to GREAT OMENDEN FARM
where a client had lost five sheep suddenly. They were being loaded for sale. A few
minutes before they appeared normal and just sank to the ground and were dead. This
was a mile from the factory. The post-mortem examination revealed nothing of
significance to indicate the cause of death. I was baffled. The Veterinary Investigation
Centre at Wye had closed down for the weekend. A sixth sheep died at Benenden Fair and a seventh with the new owner at Rye. Sheep can die suddenly from a number of infectious diseases but there was no reason to suspect any of these.
The farm manager asked me whether I had heard about three of his neighbour’s cows,
which died a few days before. This was Mr. Jull and his sons Cyril and Norman at Roberts
Farm. It was a fine afternoon and this was my last visit of the day, so we took a walk along a stream, which ran through his neighbour’s land. We noticed that the further we went upstream, the less clear the water became. The vegetation in the ditches was black and dead. The stream originated alongside the factory, which made pesticides. The water on which the cattle and sheep depended for drinking water became suspected. Water
samples were collected and internal organs from the dead sheep were taken to the County Analytical Laboratory at Maidstone. Telephone calls to my neighbouring veterinary practice at Ashford established that they had been attending three cows at Roberts Farm. We were mystified. They knew the factory made methyl bromide, and one of the ponds smelt of bromide.
The following day, Sunday, I was called urgently to attend a goat at Limes Land Farm
which lay directly across the main road from the factory. This client used to work there
and I asked him what they made. Amongst the many pesticides he mentioned was
fluoroacetamide (1081), a rat poison. The goat was trembling and in a convulsive state.
She died a few hours later. Many meetings transpired between the Ashford veterinary practice, the factory manager and myself. Analytical test results bean to come through. Fluorides were present to the extent of 5 parts per million, but bromides were a hundred times more. Sulphuric acid was also present in the water. The sheep specimens revealed no chemicals of any significance. Testing of the ditches and ponds for bromides were carried out at intervals.
The acid had been neutralized by the factory management with washing soda and only
bromides appeared to remain. Testing for fluorides was abandoned in view of the alarming quantities of bromide present. The Kent River Board, responsible for the
prevention of pollution of watercourses was alerted. The factory manager told me that
fluoroacetamide could not possibly have got into the ditches, but he was able to account
for the bromides and acid. The black chemical residue from the manufacture of
fluoroacetamide had been pumped out onto the factory land for months and the Kent
River Board assured me that this could only be carried downwards into the soil.
All ditches and ponds on Great Omenden, Kelsham and Roberts Farms were fenced off to
prevent access by livestock. The remainder of the young Friesian herd on Roberts Farm
was kept under close observation by the Ashford veterinary surgeons. No more deaths
occurred and we felt a little easier. We had at least prevented further deaths. Mr. Lowe, the farmer at Great Omenden, also kept pigs, poultry and cattle, as well as two
pet dogs, one of them a sturdy and obedient foxhound. A month after the sheep deaths,
and after all acid had disappeared from his ponds and ditches, the foxhound was taken ill at night. I will use the housekeepers words:- “At 1 am he jumped onto my bed, a thing he never does…his eyes staring and big…trembling a little and teeth bared as he panted and seemed mad…I was frightened…I let him out of the bedroom and he fell downstairs…he stumbled out of doors and went onto the green…there he fell over, head bent backwards and his legs kicking as he gasped for air…a horrible noise from his throat as he breathed…his eyes were very big…then he got up, looking wildly around, then shot away and we did not see him again alive.”
His actions were suggestive of fearful hallucinations. The following morning he was
found drowned in a pond. A post-mortem examination in the forecourt of my surgery
showed only the signs of death from drowning, and the big meal he had eaten the evening before was undigested in his stomach. The owner could not accept my post-mortem certificate. What had caused the madness before he bolted away in terror? I explained this as being due to severe abdominal pain and colic. The dog had been out hunting the previous afternoon and given a big meal on his return that evening, when he was in an exhausted condition. Mr. Lowe was still not satisfied. He had lost sheep, his neighbour had lost cattle, this was still poisoning! But how could it be? The water analyses for acid and bromide were almost normal, and the bromides, if responsible, would only have a sedative effect and not one of stimulation. Doubt grew in my mind. The Veterinary Investigation Centre was not so concerned with dogs, and besides they would be reluctant to intervene as litigation might be involved. Meanwhile the cows at Roberts Farm were reported to be normal to the casual observer.
Cyril Jull knew their milk yields had fallen, they were less alert than usual, and they were easily tired. If made to hurry, they would stop and pant like a dog. A few calves, which were born strong and healthy, died in convulsions before they were a few hours old. Mr. Patterson, the Ministry Veterinary Surgeon at Wye was again pressed to come to our aid. Yes, he was willing to do so if we could tell him what poison to look for. The factory sold scores of pesticides, from the more complex chlorinated hydrocarbons, DDT,
Lindane, Parathion, down to the simpler copper, arsenic, zinc and sulphur ones. Was one
to start at the top of the list and work down, or try one’s luck with a pin? The de la Warr
Laboratories at Oxford offered me their help and in July a team of three visited Tenterden and took apparatus out to Roberts Farm. Within minutes of setting up their apparatus they diagnosed fluoroacetate (1080), much to the surprise of the farmer and myself.
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL. WORKING DOCUMENT. Intellectual Property of Clean Green New Zealand Trust, Reg Charity no: CC54185. Collated by Dr Ursula Edgington, Michelle Terry, Clyde & Steve Graf, Kathy White and Sue Grey LLB (Hons), BSc, RSHDipPHI & other citizens.
New Zealand Register of Unintended human, stock, wildlife, dogs, native birds & aquatic life. and other poisoning incidents and deaths from aerial Compound 1080 & brodifacoum operations between 1954 and 2018. http://1080science.co.nz/
Thanks to one of our readers Joseph Nowak who has forwarded the following information he obtained from DoC with an Official Information request. DoC’s responding letter explains the purpose of the recent helicopter tour over Fiordland by 30 international bankers, escorted by the heads of both DoC and Hong Kong’s Goldman Sachs. For previous information surrounding this info request in particular the Nature Conservancy group (NC) see the three following articles, particularly the first & second if you are in a hurry (although they are not long reads):
Thank you for your email of 4 April 2018 to the Minister of Conservation requesting the
following information under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act):
“the purpose of the recent helicopter tour of Fiordland by international bankers which was hosted by Lou Sanson”
Your request was transferred from the Minister’s Office to the Department of Conservation on 24 April 2018.
In response to your request I am able to advise that the purpose of the charter flights on 14 March 2018 was to show The Nature Conservancy’s Asia Pacific Council conservation work that is underway in Fiordland, specifically work to recover kākāpō and takahē.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a charitable environmental organisation, pursuing
solutions to conservation challenges, and working with partners including indigenous communities, businesses, governments, multilateral institutions, and other non-profits.
TNC are significant donors to conservation around the world and across the Asia Pacific region and covered the costs of this helicopter charter. You can read more about TNC on their website: http://www.nature.org
This all begs the question, why did mainstream media mention nothing about this tour? Surely, given NZers’ passion for our once pristine country & its flora and fauna, the media would be all over this? But no, not a whisper. Not a whisper either about the supposed ‘philanthropic’ nature of the tour. Personally I’d be putting my money on the greenwash agenda. Remember the reader feedback here about NC activities in Hawaii?
“…you are right about the Nature Conservancy. They bought up a large swathe of land on my former home, the island of Molokai, Hawaii. I knew a local gal there, young and strong, who quit working for them. Why? First, they fenced off the land. Then they brought in sharp shooters from airplanes to “eliminate” the”non-native species” — goats and pigs.
I overheard waterway workers complain that the dead carcasses were rotting right in the aqueduct that goes through tunnels from that side of the island to the population on the other side — as drinking and ag water. Then they sought to eliminate the “non-native” flora. That’s why she quit. They had her spraying toxic herbicides all day long, and she was afraid of becoming sterile! Also, when they purchase a piece of land, they rope it off for “conservation” and people are not allowed to go there and enjoy the beauty any more.”
We are supposed to believe that these international bankers are committed to saving our kākāpō and takahē? When they make clandestine tours of our country like they own it? Bit like the public-excluded carry on we have with our district councils that are selling off our public assets hand over fist (in secret).
We are hearing repeatedly from hunters and those who live near the bush areas that after poison drops the birdsong all but disappears. I don’t imagine the bankers plan on stopping the poison drops?
The green ‘sustainable’ rhetoric is just not cutting it any more, not three decades in sorry. The only things I see that are being sustained are the coffers of the wealthy. At the expense of our environment.
Here is an article from 2007, and the drops continue, in spite of the clear scientific evidence it is not beneficial to our ecosystem.
“We have audited Department of Conservation scientific research and produced an 88-page monograph reviewing more than 100 scientific papers.
The results are startling and belie most of the department’s claims.
First, there is no credible scientific evidence showing that any species of native bird benefits from the dropping of tonnes of 1080 into our forest ecosystems
Second, considerable evidence exists that DoC’s aerial 1080 operations are doing serious harm”Quinn and Patricia Whiting-O’Keefe
Scientists, Quinn and Patricia Whiting-O’Keefe: “Poison facts belie the claims”
There is now a familiar litany of scientifically insupportable claims about what great things aerial 1080, a universal poison, is doing for our forest ecosystems. The people of New Zealand have a right to know the truth about what the scientific evidence shows.
We have audited Department of Conservation scientific research and produced an 88-page monograph reviewing more than 100 scientific papers.
The results are startling and belie most of the department’s claims.
First, there is no credible scientific evidence showing that any species of native bird benefits from the dropping of tonnes of 1080 into our forest ecosystems, as claimed by the department and Kevin Hackwell. There is certainly no evidence of net ecosystem benefit.
We have repeatedly challenged DoC and Mr Hackwell, a representative of the Forest and Bird Society, to come forward with the hard scientific evidence for their “dead forest” claims. They have not.
Second, considerable evidence exists that DoC’s aerial 1080 operations are doing serious harm, as one would expect, given that 1080 is toxic to all animals. It kills large numbers of native species of birds, invertebrates and bats.
Moreover, most native species are completely unstudied. In addition considerable evidence shows there are chronic and sublethal effects to vertebrate endocrine and reproductive systems, possibly including those of humans.
Considerable evidence demonstrates that DoC’s aerial 1080 operations are doing serious harm. Photos: Upper (Tomtit in hand) by Clyde Graf Lower (multiple dead birds) by 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.
Third, DoC claims that one can drop food laced with 1080, a universal poison (World Health Organisation classification “1A extremely hazardous”) indiscriminately into a semi-tropical forest ecosystem and only negatively affect one or two target “pest” species. That is counterintuitive and scientifically improbable.
Fourth, as far as we can determine no other country in the world is doing (or has ever done) anything remotely similar – mass poisoning of a semi-tropical ecosystem on the scale that the department is now doing to ours.
Fifth, and perhaps most disturbing, is that what the department-sponsored research shows has been habitually misrepresented – entirely unjustifiable assertions regarding 1080’s benefits and lack of harm.
Statements like those of Mr Hackwell that the forests will be “dead” without poisoning them with 1080, and from John McLennan (Landcare Research) and Al Morrison (then Director General of DoC) that 1080 is existentially necessary to Kiwis is pure demagoguery and scientific nonsense.
What is at risk by continuation of this extraordinary practice – and it is unique in the world – is the ecological integrity of our forest ecosystems, our reputation as an environmentally sane and responsible country, and our existence as a society in which reason and rationality can triumph over bureaucratic prerogative and budgetary gain.
Since Galileo Galilee first discovered the moons of Jupiter in the 17th century, the way to resolve this kind of disagreement has been to do the experiment and examine the evidence, and that is precisely what we urge everyone to do.
Don’t believe DoC. Don’t believe Mr Hackwell. Don’t believe us – believe the evidence. To that end we will provide a copy of our report and the source scientific research papers to all who would like to read them.
* Quinn and Patricia Whiting-O’Keefe are retired scientists.
See also our 1080 pagesfor info & links, &/or search ‘categories’ drop down box for further related articles (at left of any page).
Share & help spread the word on all the untruths we have been told,
Please Note re commenting:
Your comments are welcome, however if you are a fan of 1080 & wish to highlight DoC’s data then mainstream media is the place to go. This site is reserved for providing independent research & unfortunately I do not have the time to monitor long discussions. As well, I decline to publish information that is freely available on DoC’s own website. People can go there and peruse that for themselves.