Tag Archives: landcare research

A Look at New Zealand’s Conservation Science (Dr Jo Pollard)

From CORANZ

by Dr Jo Pollard (BSc (Hons), PhD)

Supporters of NZ’s conservation by aerial poisoning have commonly defended their position with the statement “Look at the science.”

Most of the published science on conservation in NZ is accessed readily, appearing in the NZ Journal of Ecology (NZJE). A browse through the issues from the last couple of years reveals glimmers of hope for ecological management, plus some not so nice things. The following is a quick run through.

Freshest news from Landcare is the observation that ship rats climb up and carefully drink nectar from mountain flax flowers; their furry faces probably transferring pollen between flowers (Donald & Dhami, 2022). 

Landcare is now thinking rats might compete for nectar and pollinate “on a widespread and under-appreciated scale.” 

Also from Landcare is “Do mice matter?” (Watts et al., 2022). It concludes they do.

When other mammals were fenced out of a reserve, mouse numbers rose and apparently reduced numbers of wētā, caterpillars and other invertebrates, potentially having “catastrophic” effects. Then when the researchers got rid of the mice, unexpected things were noted: non-native earthworms seemed to move into the depleted ground faster than native earthworms, and an extremely high number of beetles appeared in one area.

Stoats and Rats

Studies of alpine-dwelling stoats by researchers from several organisations (McAulay et al., 2020; 2021) supported previous findings that rats are stoats’ preferred prey. Fifty-five stoats were caught in traps laid above the tree line in Fiordland, Mt Aspiring and Nelson Lakes national parks. Stomach contents and stoat tissues were analysed to find out what they had been eating. 

At the Fiordland and Mt Aspiring sites the stoats were living on small mammals (e.g. rats), topped up with insects and plant material. There was no bird material in their stomachs, and it was estimated that long-term, small birds made up less than 2% of the diet. In contrast at Nelson Lakes (where there were no rats) stomachs contained small birds (estimated as 15 -26% of the long term diet) and also skinks (19-57%). 

The authors warned that when and where ship rat numbers are low, stoats are more likely to eat threatened species. Also that individual stoats have their own feeding habits, so generalisations cannot be made from narrow observations.

On islands where introduced mammals have been eliminated, things have turned out badly for several bird species. Miskelly et al. (2021) (from Te Papa Museum and the Department of Conservation (DoC)) studied birds on 38 Fiordland islands, where Norway rats or stoats were removed several decades ago. Seven islands left unmanaged provided an experimental control. In the absence of rats or stoats, robins have flourished, seemingly aggressively ousting other species, including grey warbler, silvereye and tomtits. 

“Robins flourished—ousting other species”

The authors warned that killing off predators to achieve “restoration” can cause declines and disappearances of native bird species.  So far then, it seems much is being learnt about ecology that challenges NZ’s Predator Free conservation goal to wipe out mustelids, rats and possums (Predator Free, 2022). 

Many Questions

There are many questions: how to deal with increasing mice, once their predators have been killed off; how do our long-naturalised mammals fit into current ecology; what about the results from the Fiordland islands, where it appears that taking away the introduced predators reduced the diversity of birds? 

Also challenged within these first few papers is DoC’s insistence on aerial poisoning of alpine zones, to “protect” rock wren and kea from stoats. The stoats are likely to not be eating any birds! Plus the poison is toxic to birds and a very broad range of other creatures. It is not reliable in controlling stoats which shift to eating birds if their rat prey is gone. So the alpine animals may suffer a double-whammy: poison, then hungry stoats. DoC’s idea that stoats must be killing off bird species comes from hunted down, marked and monitored nests. But the monitoring itself makes the nests prone to desertion and predation. 

Contributions from DoC to the latest NZJEs include an addition to a large pile of studies on nesting and survival of rare birds wearing radio telemetry gear (Steffens et al., 2022). This gear, ironically, makes birds much less likely to nest, markedly increases energy expenditure and causes fatalities.  

Something seems amiss in the animal ethics screening of DoC experiments. 

Attempts to improve monitoring appeared in the University of Otago’s study on robins, whose nests were observed from a distance to avoid disturbing them (van Heezik et al., 2020), and trials by various researchers on remote monitoring of kiwi, using their calls (Jahn et al., 2022; Ellis & Marsland, 2022). The latter authors had animal welfare and other concerns about the transmitters DoC routinely uses on kiwis’ legs. 

As with DoC, a lack of ethical oversight was apparent in a study from Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP). Nichols et al. (2022) killed 20 rats by feeding them 1080-poisoned food, to make bait for stoats. Since, there has been a change: now they humanely kill their rodents then make them poisonous by injecting them with 1080.

Many articles concerned aerial poisoning using 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate).

Bomans et al. (2021) from Victoria University monitored bird calls before and after aerial poisoning operations realising however that calls did not reflect bird numbers, because survivors might call frequently, e.g. for mates. Dilks et al. (2021) (from DoC and Lincoln University) used trail cameras, baited with rabbit meat and an egg, to record animals before (spring) and after (summer) an aerial poison operation. With no experimental control they could not conclude much, except that all common small mammals were seen far less afterwards. Morriss et al. (2021) (mainly Landcare people) “gathered observations” on deer mortality rates after aerial poisoning, which were highly variable and it was concluded formal research was needed.

Rats Rebound

Two studies demonstrated the classic rat population response to aerial 1080 poisoning, with numbers rebounding within several months and reaching higher levels than before poisoning began (Bell et al., 2021 (mainly people from DoC); van Heezik et al., 2020 (mainly from Otago University)). To gain better control, Nichols et al. (2021) from ZIP aerially poisoned twice a few months apart, spreading baits at extra high density, and managed to nearly get rid of all rats, stoats and possums. Monitoring of any other creatures’ survival was only “incidental”; a grave omission since the authors propose this super-poisoning might become more common as NZ strives to become Predator Free. 

Rats are especially well equipped, through their lifestyle and physiology, to withstand a 1080 poison war.

An oncoming weapon for beating nature is genetic modification, and there’s no shortage of interested parties lining up.  Inwood et al. (2020) are people from Scion, Landcare, the Environmental Protection Agency and four universities wanting to work on topics such as gene editing to make rats infertile. That idea had been put to bed by a NZ Royal Society review (Dearden et al., 2017) as too dangerous, because modified rats might escape to overseas ecosystems where rats were actually important!

Habitat Importance

Encouragingly, Walker et al. (2021a; 2021b) from Landcare stressed the need to preserve habitat, stating its loss and modification “is a principal, ongoing cause of indigenous biodiversity decline.” Echoing this was Landcare’s study on kereru, for which forest seemed to be a limiting factor (Carpenter et al., 2021). 

Long ago, ecologist Dr Carolyn King pointed out “conservation of species is conservation of habitats”. 

How good things might have been if DoC’s head scientist Graeme Elliott had listened to Dr King and focussed his career on the observation that mohua, needing tall forest trees on valley floors, were suffering from habitat loss. Instead, stoats were blamed for the mohua’s decline, leading to rampant stoat trapping, followed by rats getting out of control and eating the mohua, then the onset of aerial poisoning to quell rats.

Perhaps the Predator Free movement might yet face up to ecology. 

Unfortunately, as restated in the NZJE (McGlone et al., 2020) there is a history of dysfunction whereby conservation management in NZ has departed from science. 

The science indicates a need for careful studies and saving habitat, rather than mindless interference and indiscriminate poisoning.

Footnote: A fully referenced copy of this article is available at this link.

Dr Jo Pollard

Header Photo: pixabay.com
Others: supplied

Predators Are Not Evil But are Mostly Part of Healthy Ecosystems

Opinion by Tony Orman

New Zealand has for many decades waged a war against predators. Currently there are a number of anti-predator campaigns, often using public money in big spend-ups on futile aerial poisoning exercises. In addition, in the end, the blanket operations run counter to the impassioned aim of exterminating predators (e.g. rats) and instead cause major disruption to food chains and serious damage to the ecosystem. For example there is Predator Free 2050, and Zero Invasive Predators, the latter jazzily known by the acronym of ZIP. The zealous programmes have earned international recognition.“Time” magazine which proclaimed “Rats, Possums and Stoats Beware! New Zealand Goes to War Against Invasive Pests.” But the programmes are like the 1837 Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. At one stage in the fable, the wise man serving the Emperor thinks “What!” “Is it possible that I am a fool? I have never thought so myself. No one must know it now if I am so. Can it be, that I am unfit for my job?”Those questions should be asked of those who champion Predator Free 2050 and ZIP – people from Prime Ministers to central and local government politicians, local bodies, naive unquestioning media whoop as investigative journalists, extreme green groups and even unprincipled “scientists” following the money trail of funding all pursuing the dream of exterminating New Zealand’s predators. However the reality is the dreams are running against the way Nature behaves.

Predator Role
Wildlife mangers overseas are increasingly regarding predators as an important part of a healthy ecosystem. In 2014 Al S Glen of New Zealand’s Landcare Research and Christopher Dickman of Sydney University co-authored a book on “Carnivores of Australia” and in a chapter “The Importance of Predators” said “to maintain or restore functioning ecosystems, wildlife managers must consider the ecological importance of predators.” This is hardly a new idea. Charles Elton, an Oxford ecologist, first conceptualised food webs in the 1920s, speculating that wolf removal would result in over-population of deer on which wolves preyed. The notion was taken up by others such as highly respected conservationist and author Aldo Leopold. Predators tend to remove vulnerable prey, such as the old, injured, sick, or very young, leaving more food for the survival and success of healthy prey animals. Also, by controlling the size of prey populations, predators help slow down the spread of disease. Predators will catch healthy prey when they can, but catching sick or injured animals is more likely and helps in the formation of healthier prey populations because only the fittest animals survive and are able to reproduce. In addition, predators help to reduce the negative impacts that their prey may have on the ecosystem if they become too abundant or it they stayed in one area for too long. Biologists have recognised predators like cheetahs prey on grazing animals like antelope, it keeps the prey population moving around (in fear) and prevents overgrazing in any one area. As a result, more trees, shrubs, bushes, and grasses can grow, which then provides habitat for many other species.

Predator Removal Dangers
If carnivores were removed from an ecosystem, what would happen? Herds of grazing animals, such as antelope, would grow and grow and result, in large herds overgrazing their food source, and as the food disappeared, the whole herd would begin to starve. Caroline Fraser writing for the US’s Yale School of the Environment  said experts “beginning with aquatic experiments, have amassed considerable evidence of damage done to food chains by predator removal and have extended such studies to land.” Predators are simply a part of any ecosystem’s food chain. New Zealand’s native falcon prey on other native birds such as tuis and bellbirds. Blue duck (whio) prey almost entirely on aquatic invertebrates, mostly caddisfly larvae. Kiwi prey on worms. When animals of a predatory nature are introduced such as rats and stoats were to New Zealand, they go through a “boom and bust” phase before their populations settle down to a relatively static state.  Unfortunately, native prey species can become drastically reduced or even extinct as a result of the predator “boom”.  The critical aspect of managing this situation is avoiding predator “booms”.  Consequently,the fervour and haste which the Department of Conservation and local councils applies with toxins is reckless and fraught with ecological danger.

Disastrous Outcomes
Large scale poisoning with eco-toxins such as 1080 and brodifacoum may heavily reduce predator numbers initially but with a few short years, the outcome is disastrous. The science is there to show the resurgence in predator numbers and subsequent wrecking of the food chain.  Wendy Ruscoe in a study published in Landcare Research’s publication 2008 showed aerial dropping of 1080 will temporarily knock back a rat population but due to the rodent’s amazing reproductive capacity, the surviving rats recover rapidly and within 18 months, are two to three times greater than before poisoning began. A 2007 study by Landcare scientists Graham Nugent and Peter Sweetapple showed rat numbers recovered within 18 months and at the two year mark, rat abundance could be four times greater than before poisoning.

Stoat Prey
The disruption to the naive ecosystem ripples further.  A major prey for stoats is rats.  When rat numbers are reduced by 80% – 90%, the stoat deprived of its major food source, invariably switches prey to birds. But later as rat numbers surge and boom and pass original numbers, stoats enjoy a virtual banquet of rats, breeding increases and surges and then explodes.The well intentioned but ignorant predator extermination programme usually using 1080, has merely stimulated, within a few short years, major population explosions of rats and stoats. Attempting to poison-away rodent surges in beech-mast years is the ecological equivalent of farting against thunder. All this does (if anything) is delay the inevitable, as the fast-breeding ability of rodents will eventually allow population growth to match the food source. Rather than benefiting the birds and overall ecological health, there is massive ecological disruption by the man-induced mega rat and stoat plagues.

Ecological Damage
That is not counting the birds and insects and other invertebrate organisms killed by 1080 as research demonstrated, by DSIR scientist Mike Meads, in the 1980’s.  1080 was originally patented as an insecticide in 1927. Examples are many of human interference directly or indirectly into Nature’s food chains resulting in profound consequences. In a classic 1966 experiment, biologist Robert Paine removed the purple seastar, Pisaster ochraceus — a voracious mussel-feeder — from an area of coastline in Washington state. Their predator gone, mussels exploded in numbers, crowding out biodiverse kelp communities with monoculture. Less than a decade after Pisaster, marine ecologists James Estes and John Palmisano reached the astonishing and widely reported conclusion that hunting of sea otters had caused the collapse of kelp forests around the Aleutian Islands. With otters reduced to low levels, the prey (sea urchins) stripped the kelp forests. When otters eventually returned, they regulated urchins, allowing “luxuriant” regrowth of biodiverse kelp communities.

Toheroa Decline
In New Zealand, the decline of the toheroa shellfish was attributed unofficially to heavy over-fishing of snapper which preyed on paddle crabs which in turn preyed on toheroa. With the heavy decline in snapper, paddle crabs proliferated and almost obliterated toheroas. New Zealand has a long history of an obsession with attempted extermination of predators. In the 1950s acclimatisation societies managing trout fisheries blamed freshwater eels and shags for perceived declines in trout numbers. Bounties were paid out on eels. It had little effect. Ironically the best trout fishing rivers had healthy populations of both trout and eels. Eels simply removed the sick, the old or the unwary thus making for a quality trout population. The concept of being ”predator free” or “zero predators” has no ecological justification, except in limited circumstances on smaller offshore islands and “mainland islands”. Even in islands where predators may have been eliminated e.g. Secretary Island in Fiordland, the success is short-lived and temporary as animals can and do swim from the mainland to recolonise.

Playing God
It seem incomprehensible that an agency such as the Department of Conservation and the Predator Free 2050 and ZIP concepts should go unquestioned in the light of the understanding internationally of the dangers of playing God with predators..But the ‘fly in the ointment’ is human nature.  For example a scientist in DOC arguably has a vested interest by way of employment and a handsome salary. Similarly with any consulting scientist attached to Predator Free 2050 and ZIP. For others of zealous nature, as some humans are wont to be, it becomes the pursuit of “The Impossible Dream.”  For politicians it’s good P.R. to declare war on the baddies, no matter how pointless and damaging that might be. The sad outcomes are the gross misuse of public funds and more tragically the profound ecological damage that often occurs in the pursuit of that “Impossible Dream.”


Footnote:

Tony Orman has spent a lifetime in the outdoors observing and reading about it and Nature. He has had some two dozen books published, mainly on fishing, deerstalking, conservation and rural life.

OIA requests from Landcare Research indicate the alarming extent to which 1080 is in our food chain

“Landcare Research maintains a national database of vertebrate pesticide residue test results, from samples of plants, soil and animal tissue and corresponding background information submitted to its Toxicology Laboratory at Lincoln.”

Lawyer Sue Grey and Regional Councillor Kathy White have obtained information via an OIA request from Landcare Research that confirms after 50 years of extensive application of 1080 poison (a Class 1A Ecotoxin) to NZ’s environment that 1080 is well established in our food chain. Water content has trebled in the past five years. Were it not for this info request we would all of course be none the wiser which is why it is advisable that you exercise the precautionary principle with regards to the food that you eat.
This is what Landcare’s website says regarding testing information.
https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/…/s…/advice-and-protocols

 

Copy of LEW OCONNOR 1080 TESTING.png

 

 

Two scientists who reviewed more than 100 of DoC’s scientific papers say: “There’s no credible scientific evidence showing any species of native bird benefits from 1080 drops”

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”

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NZ drops into its forests about  4,000 KG of pure 1080 per year, enough to kill 20 million people [Photo: Clyde Graf, from a 1080 drop at Makarora]

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.

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The oxymoron that DOC’s signage is

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.

fwdfwdockills7outof9kea7
1080 is killing large numbers of native species

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.

clydes mt pukaha dead kiwi vid

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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.

Header Photo: Robin, TV-Wild

ARTICLE SOURCE:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10448063

Read the Whiting-O’Keefe report HERE

If you have difficulty with the link to the report go to our Resources page & see it there.


Copy of kea article

 

keadeaths1080


RELATED:

PUKAHA MT BRUCE, 49 DEAD KIWI SINCE 2013 – ONLY ONE EVER TESTED FOR POISONING – FROM DOC’S OWN RECORDS

OIA REQUEST REVEALS 89 DEAD KIWI IN 1080 TREATED TONGARIRO FOREST – AND NOT ONE WAS TESTED BY DOC FOR 1080 POISONING – PRESS RELEASE FROM GRAF BROTHERS


 

See the TheGrafBoys YT channel and website for more videos. Educate yourself on 1080 poisoning. See also http://1080science.co.nz/

See also our 1080 pages for 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,

Thank you!

EnvirowatchRangitikei


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.

Why were the heads of NZ’s Dept. of Conservation & Hong Kong’s Goldman Sachs touring parts of Fiordland recently in a six-helicopter entourage?

Thanks to Carol Sawyer for this information.

NOTE: Here are links to this series of articles:

1) WHY WERE THE HEADS OF NZ’S DEPT. OF CONSERVATION & HONG KONG’S GOLDMAN SACHS TOURING PARTS OF FIORDLAND RECENTLY IN A SIX-HELICOPTER ENTOURAGE?

2) NEW INFO ON THE RECENT 6-HELICOPTER ENTOURAGE OVER FIORDLAND BY THE HEAD OF NZ’S DEPT. OF CONSERVATION & 30 ODD INTERNATIONAL BANKERS

3) SOUTHLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL HAS TOLD A CORRESPONDENT THAT THE RECENT HELICOPTER TOUR OF FIORDLAND BY 30 ODD INTERNATIONAL BANKERS & DOC WAS ‘PHILANTHROPIC’ … AND NARY A WHISPER FROM MAINSTREAM MEDIA?

4) DOC SAYS THE 30 INTERNATIONAL BANKERS TOURING FIORDLAND LAST MONTH WERE ABOUT RECOVERING OUR KĀKĀPŌ AND TAKAHĒ YET STILL NO MENTION IN MAINSTREAM MEDIA?


 

And this fly over, one week before Obama’s visit? What is going on? This entourage consisted solely of international bankers from all over the world it’s reported.

What were the heads of DoC and the ‘bank that rules the world’ out purveying pristine South Island sights for? And what does Goldman Sachs have to do with the conservation of NZ’s flora and fauna? As we found out last century, the predatory funding of the banking fraternity comes with conditions. Doesn’t bode well in my opinion.

Consider all this in light of the recent signing of the (un)modified TPPA ‘deal’ that benefits mostly corporations, the recent revelations around the upcoming Wanaka Air Show boasting ‘impressive’ global military representation, the imminent visit at the same time by Barack Obama and ‘right on cue’ Hillary Clinton and the mysterious events surrounding the 2011 Christchurch Quake and its parallels with Haiti, one could be forgiven for being somewhat suspicious of this company of people. Call me conspiratorial if you wish but add to that the fact it’s all a bit timely, especially with the fast & furious sale of vast swathes of South Island property including Otago to offshore wealthy folk who are supposedly escaping the apocalypse they believe is coming, and it’s difficult to believe it’s a case of ‘nothing doing here’. (Note, Donald Trump’s right hand man Peter Thiel has bought Damper Bay in Wanaka Otago. US news anchor, Matt Lauer has bought Hunter Valley Station, Otago). The common denominator for the better part of all the aforementioned is the US. And speaking of the US & its military (which go together like peas in a pod) I forgot to mention the discussions that have been under way for some time between DARPA (US military) & NZ Landcare Research on the proposed release of genetically modified insects. We are ‘favored’ for this ‘experiment’ because of our island status. Very handy all around. Hello guinea pigs.

NZ & the US military have been cosying up for quite a while now especially since our former ‘esteemed’ PM ‘Sir’ John (now managing other monies) spent a good part of his dubious ‘service’ oiling the US war machine. Having gone this far on topic I may as well mention it’s been said he likely profits from NZ’s debt and just hours after the Christchurch Quake signed away seabed exploration rights to the giant oil company Anadarko.

The info on the six helicopter entourage was posted on the no to 1080 use in NZ Facebook page by Carol Sawyer. The company of international bankers along with DoC’s Director General went flying over Fiordland, reliable word has it, on 14 March 2018, quoted here (with minor edits, go to the source to read the original):

“Six Squirrel helicopters were chartered from Alpine Helicopters, Wanaka. They only have five Squirrels so one was chartered in by them.

Apparently, Director-General of Conservation Lou Sanson, and presumably other DoC” people, “took a pile of international bankers on a Tiki Tour. I am told the Hong Kong-based head of Goldman Sachs was one of them.

They went to Fiordland – landing in the Murchison Mountains, (Takahe), Chalky Island (Kakapo) in Chalky Inlet, and Resolution Island in Dusky Sound.

I have also been told this helicopter operation would have cost at least $80,000 to hire. I thought DoC was short of money? Did the big bankers pay for this trip? A Squirrel helicopter seats the pilot and six passengers, so with six Squirrels that is at least 30 people involved.

In the evening they were seen landing at Manapouri, where they had their evening meal … at the Manapouri Hotel, before the trip back to Wanaka.”

Was Lou Sanson’s “great ‘success’ “ with “DoC’s Battle for the Birds program, and the importance of Predator Free 2050” part of the discussion?

Carol has noted the remoteness of the areas they viewed in their flight from Wanaka to Fiordland. Fiordland is very remote and the places they were going could not be reached by road. Resolution Island is in Dusky Sound, Fiordland and has no road access. Chalky Island is in Chalky Inlet, Fiordland and also has no road access.

The pertinent question is asked: “What the heck are we giving these rich international bankers in return … land? mining rights? our souls? …” I would concur on those questions and would place my bet on all of them. It’s been put to me before by some readers that that mining is the agenda for clearing off our lands with 1080 of all things living. There is more than one theory on that. I suspect it is multi-purpose. Personally I know of folk who have heard poison contractors boast they’ve upped the strength of 1080 in order to kill the deer. It’s working.  The wild lands are becoming less viable as sources of wild food given the risks now involved, witness the recent poisoning of the Putaruru family who ate wild boar (the authorities didn’t test for 1080 within the appropriate time frame) the green beehives seen recently by bee keepers and the poisoning of our waterways by DoC with impunity. And yes people appear to have been poisoned historically also but the authorities are very tight lipped about those occurrences and aren’t admitting a bar of it.

Returning to the TPPA & the military, looking at the big picture, hear Prof Jane Kelsey explain the global power play going on:

 

Watch this space.

Photos supplied by Carol Sawyer :

An Alpine Helicopters Squirrel at Matukituki 1080 operation, Wanaka, 2014 – Photo ODT

Lou Sanson in the snow, on an overnight jaunt at Plateau Hut in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park last year, with Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings and Fonterra Chair John Wilson. ( Theo earned $8.2 million last year, 2017, incidentally ).- Photo Lou Sanson’s blog.

Resolution Island, Dusky Sound – Photo Landcare

 

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Trialing GM insects in NZ – Good reason for skepticism on Landcare Research’s collaboration with DARPA & Gates Fndn warns GE Free NZ

See our recent related post on the selection of NZ and Australia for trialing GM insects, all part of the NZ Gov’s pest eradication program called Predator Free 2050.

There are good reasons to be skeptical about the hype behind the GBiRd project, the programme coordinated by Landcare research in collaboration with overseas partner the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with funding from the Gates Foundation. [1] – GE Free NZ

18/12/2017

Warning Against Gene-Drive Hype Provided by AgResearch Gene Experiment

There are good reasons to be skeptical about the hype behind the GBiRd project, the programme coordinated by Landcare research in collaboration with overseas partner the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with funding from the Gates Foundation. [1]

Research has found that gene drive technology has many problems; immune systems in wild populations could override the sterility gene after a few generations. With no control over the ability of the genetic technology to be contained there are risks that sterility could spread to other countries. There is the potential that, as TB spreads, so could the sterility technology, which could severely affect farmers who have livestock. The only gene drive technology that has been developed is in mosquitoes. Promoters nevertheless continue to hype unrealistic promises about gene drive applications to the public.

The New Zealand Herald reported that Minister Sage “elbowed out” the gene drive project. [2] That project was looking at New Zealand islands to introduce sterile genetically modified small mammals like mice and rats to see if they were able to breed.

GE animal experiments at AgResearch refute promises of animal genetic engineering that have produced disasters for animal welfare. These experiments show the need for much more caution before allowing genetically engineered organisms outside containment.

“New Zealanders were softened up by promises of medical benefits. GE animals were funded instead of a focus on research funding for issues that farmers are desperate to address. AgResearch annual reports reveal data on animal euthanasia and deformity,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ.

‘Daisy’, the calf that made headlines because she carried a gene that knocked out an allergy protein in milk called beta-lacto globulin, had to be euthanised after living only three years. She was born without a tail and suffered from skeletal deformities that eventually forced her to be killed on humanitarian grounds. [3]

The original experiment on transgenic cows that expressed the human gene Myelin Basic Protein for Multiple Sclerosis has ended with the last cow being euthanised due to chronic lameness from hip problems that did not respond to treatment.

There are also transgenic goats being bred at the Ruakura site. The goat experiments started in 2010, since then many hundreds of embryos have been created, carrying GE genes for synthetic pharmaceutical drugs already readily available on the market. Only 46 goats survive. This year, seventy-nine goats of varying ages were euthanised due to being surplus or killed following veterinary advice, and 9 goats were found dead in the paddock. [4]

“This disastrous experiment in genetic engineering of animals must be a warning against ignoring and underplaying the risks when gene drive experiments are being discussed,” said Claire Bleakley.

References:
[1] Gene Drive Files http://genedrivefiles.synbiowatch.org
[2] Conservation Minister opposes GM-rodent plan http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11952990
[3] AgResearch Annual Reports to EPA 2017 – http://www.gefree.org.nz/assets/pdf/Annual-Report-ERMA200223-2017.pdf
[4] GE Animals in New Zealand –the first 15 years. http://www.gefree.org.nz/assets/pdf/GE-Animals-in-New-Zealand.pdf

ENDS

Claire Bleakley06 3089842/ 027348 6731
Jon Carapiet 0210507681

SOURCE:

http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20171218.htm

Animal Carcasses and 1080 Poison Baits Contaminate Waterways – District Health Board Responds Clyde Graf

From Tasmanian Times
he Graf Boys – Clyde & Steve Graf

Rural families all across New Zealand are being exposed to 1080 poison, and increased risks of bacteria from decomposing animal carcasses, in their drinking water. In August, two councillors from Waikato Regional Council presented concerns to the Waikato District Health Board’s Medical Officers of Health, after many community members were unwittingly drawing water that had 1080 poison bait dropped directly into it. The Department of Conservation, one of the government agencies that undertake aerial 1080 poisoning operations, failed to appropriately inform the local residents.

A video covering several different incidents includes testimony from a Hawkes Bay family explaining how they were exposed to the poison while walking through a local forest. When they visited their hospital they were informed there wasn’t much that could be done, as there was no test immediately available for 1080 poisoning.

When aerial operations are undertaken, poison bait is dropped directly into streams within the operational areas. Landcare Research states in their water testing protocol that “water samples taken within 8 hours of bait application are expected to provide the greatest likelihood of detecting any residual 1080.” One of the conditions set by the Medical Officer of Health is that the poison operator provide mitigation if it’s requested by household occupiers or managers of huts/camping grounds, until any water contamination is proved clear via water testing.

READ MORE

http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?%2Fpr-article%2FAnimal-Carcasses-and-1080-Poison-Baits-Co%2F

There’s no credible scientific evidence showing any species of native bird benefits from 1080 drops – two scientists speak out

Here is an article from 2007, and the drops continue, in spite of the clear scientific evidence it is not beneficial to our ecosystem. One has to ask, what, aside from profits, is their agenda?


“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”

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NZ drops into its forests about 4,000 kg of pure 1080 per year, enough to kill 20 million people

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.

Copy of kepler track.jpg
The oxymoron that DOC’s signage is

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.

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1080 is killing large numbers of native species

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.

Copy of 4.png
Considerable evidence demonstrates that DOC’s aerial 1080 operations are doing serious harm

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 (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.

SOURCE:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10448063

Read the Whiting-O’Keefe report HERE

If you have difficulty with the link to the report go to our Resources page & see it there.


keadeaths1080


NOTE: See the TheGrafBoys YT channel and website for more videos. Educate yourself on 1080 poisoning. See also http://1080science.co.nz/

See also our 1080 pages for info & links, &/or search ‘categories’ drop down box for further related articles (at left of any page).

EWR

 

Bovine TB Deliberately Spread By Government

My as Alice said it gets curiouser and curiouser. Be sure to read the related article from the Whale Oil blog. Some interesting info there on the TB stats.
EnvirowatchRangitikei


MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand First – Press Release/Statement

Headline: Bovine TB Deliberately Spread By Government

New Zealand First says it is incomprehensible that Government agencies are using taxpayers money, and farmers’ Animal Health Levies, to introduce bovine tuberculosis (BTB) into an area previously determined to be free of the disease.

TB Free NZ is funding a Landcare research project close to Wellington where possums are deliberately inoculated with TB and then released to spread the disease in the wild, in what is described as a “transmission trial.”

TB Free now plans to “cull” the affected animals by way of an otherwise completely unnecessary 1080 poison drop over a huge region of the Rimutaka Forest Park that borders farmland and includes waterways, hiking tracks, and hunting areas.

“They know the 1080 won’t get all the possums, but 1080 will kill a lot of native birds as well as deer, and the artificially infected surviving possums will probably infect livestock with TB as a result,” says Primary Industries and Outdoor Recreation Spokesperson Richard Prosser.

READ MORE


RELATED:

CAN WE STOP THE LYING ABOUT POSSUMS AND TB NOW PLEASE?

Public Health Surveillance Stats