A Massey University post mortem has found six kea in the Matukituki Valley of the Aspiring National Park ”are likely” to have died from 1080 toxin.
The birds were among the 12 kea monitored by the Kea Conservation Trust after the Department of Conservation’s aerial 1080 predator control operation on February 11.
DOC threats director Amber Bill said in a statement today it was ”regretful” to lose any kea to 1080.
”But overall, aerial predator control is proven to benefit kea populations.
”It’s upsetting and disappointing to lose six kea but we are confident with effective control of rats and stoats we will significantly boost nesting success and the number of young birds entering the population.
”We are concerned the tracked kea may have learnt to eat human food around the tramping huts, making them more likely to try 1080 cereal bait.
”DOC’s extensive research of kea through aerial 1080 operations show the risk of 1080 to kea in remote areas is very low but increases markedly with birds that have learnt to scrounge for human food.”
Ms Bill said the Matukituki operation followed DOC’s best practice to mitigate risks to kea from 1080 and ensure they benefited from stoat control after last year’s extreme forest mast or seeding.
”We are constantly working to improve our risk mitigation standards for kea, which are informed by our ongoing research programme.
”In light of this incident, we will be investing more to explore potential additional measures that DOC can take to reduce the risk to kea in future 1080 predator control operations.”
Ms Bill said DOC was considering a campaign to discourage people from feeding kea and prevent kea from learning to scrounge.
“Kea are super smart and present unique conservation challenges.
”We need to continue to learn and assess all options to protect this national taonga from predators and other threats.”
Recent rodent monitoring results from the Matukituki showed rats had been reduced from damaging levels – present in 47% of tracking tunnels – to being undetectable – 0% of tracking tunnels -, following the 1080 operation.
Stoat monitoring was underway.
The Matukituki programme was designed to protect rock wren, kea and whio, as well as kākāriki, kākā, and South Island robin following a beech mast-fueled rat and stoat plague.
Ms Bill said DOC was monitoring whio and rock wren to track how these species were doing.
The dead birds were three adult males, one adult female, one juvenile male and one juvenile female.
Tell me again, is DoC really saving our birds? EWR
From Carol Sawyer
This is on the Dunedin Ecosanctuary’s Facebook page today :
“LOCAL RESIDENTS: PLEASE REPORT SIGHTINGS OF SICK KĀKĀ
We are sad to report that two of our Ōrokonui kākā have died over the last week. Initial indications from autopsies suggest that ingestion of an anticoagulant toxin was the cause.
It is possible that the kākā may have accessed bait from stations used for eradicating possums outside the sanctuary. Ōrokonui staff have contacted Ospri, which is managing a large TB control programme in the Dunedin area. This has resulted in a rapid response with contractors removing bait from stations across the entire operation area of the programme as a cautionary measure.
We are asking local residents in the communities surrounding the ecosanctuary to keep an eye out for our kākā and to immediately report any sightings of unwell (or dead) birds. Both of our kākā showed similar symptoms before they died: unusual swaying behavior, looking lethargic and ill. Please contact the DoC Hotline 03 477 0677 from 8:30 to 5pm weekdays, or after hours on 0800 362 468 if you see a kākā behaving in this way. Dunedin’s Wildlife Hospital is on standby to treat any sick birds.
We take this opportunity to remind our wider communities to please not feed kākā as we do not want to encourage them to interact with human-made structures, particularly those that contain food, outside of the safety of the ecosanctuary.”
Do not feed the Kea the sign above advises. Ironic isn’t it? They’ve been fed 1080 unfortunately by the very corporation which purports to protect them. We know 1080 kills every breathing organism (according to Dr Meriel Watts) so what else can we expect? Ten thousand birds in one drop a Landcare scientist has calculated for one of DoC’s drops. This is so not rocket science & yet here we have another sad testimony of the increasingly silent forests. This one is from Carol Sawyer.
HOLLYFORD VALLEY, FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK, DEVASTATING AERIAL 1080 POISON DROP, OCTOBER 2017 – 18 MONTHS LATER, STILL DISASTROUS RESULTS – NO RECOVERY !
By Carol Sawyer
Yesterday I visited the Hollyford Valley in Fiordland. What a silent place, apart from the cicadas and the tourist traffic. This road is dangerously busy. One rental car passed me on a double yellow line…this is standard.
A recent survey found this narrow winding road has, on average, 150 buses and 1200 cars on it every day. Knob’s Flat is about to have a $30 million lodge put in by the Milford Development Co, so the influx is going to be even greater.
The toilets are so disgusting that I was told yesterday that some bus tour drivers stop and let their passengers toilet in the forest so they don’t have to deal with the assault on their senses. ( Attached is a photo Shane Wilson took of the toilets at The Divide, on the Hollyford Road, about a year ago. I was going to take a photo myself yesterday but the stench the minute I opened the door truly had me reeling backwards, so I didn’t. )
The 1080 drop in the Lower and Upper Hollyford Valleys in Fiordland, 5-6 October, 2017 has been an unmitigated disaster ! The area had never been 1080 poisoned before.
For many years, there has been a volunteer trapping programme in place around Gunn’s Camp on the Hollyford Road. Ninety-eight traps are set along approximately 20 kms of the Hollyford Road, back into the bush a bit, from Marian Corner to Humboldt Creek and for a couple of kilometres beyond the end of the road.
These traps are set approximately 200 metres apart, and they are cleared every three weeks, weather permitting. For years, these traps averaged a total of 6 to 12 rats every three weeks, all up.
After the 1080 drop, the next couple of trap clearances yielded very little. This is what one would expect immediately after an aerial 1080 drop.
Five months later, March 2018, the traps were cleared and contained 32 rats. Interestingly, some of the traps had two rats in them, which is apparently unusual.
The following weekend the tally was 24 rats. That equates to 54 rats in a period of 6 weeks, whereas prior to the drop one could have expected, at the most, 12 to 24 rats to be caught in that time.
Rats had NEVER been caught here in these numbers before !
Things have not improved. The latest trap clearance, February, 2019, yielded 19 rats and 7 stoats !!
( These results come from inside the Dept of Conservation itself, but I doubt that they would have seen the light of day if they were not exposed here ! DoC need to understand that not all their employees agree with their poisoning ways.)
Gunn’s camp in the Hollyford was a Kaka haven. Twenty to forty Kaka were regularly seen there, and as many as fifty were counted on one occasion.
Moreporks ( Ruru ) abounded. One Morepork used to sit behind a generator shed there, and when the generator was turned off every night it then became very vocal. It was a loved ‘character’ of this special place.
All Kaka disappeared after the drop. Eighteen months later up to 3 Kaka have been seen and a Morepork was heard in the distance one night a while ago, according to regulars ( The “generator” Morepork was obviously killed by the poison. ) Fantails are gone.
I guess the DoC poisoners will be back again this year, for their biennial onslaught
COMMENT AT FACEBOOK ON THIS ARTICLE:
“Yes try finding birdlife in the Lindus Pass now days, it’s pretty much NON existent”
If you’ve noticed the same anywhere in NZ, please add your comments to our ‘Silent Forests’ page. Just let me know if you want anonymity or if I can add your name. Thank you.
Photos at Hollyford Valley, Fiordland, NZ (Carol Sawyer)
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.
The recent post about 89 dead Kiwis that DOC didn’t bother to test for 1080 poisoning relates to this report of birds that actually were tested. Thanks to the person with a conscience who let the public know what is going on!