Tag Archives: Nelson Lakes

DoC sows 1080 bait on snow in spite of their Code of Practice saying not to


Thanks to Carol Sawyer, Clyde Graf and Ron Eddy for this information:

The 1080 poison is due to be aerially dropped within the next couple of weeks. Prefeed baits were dropped on May 28, 2018.

Here is why 1080 baits should not be dropped in snowy, wintry conditions. According to the information below, DoC’s 2014 Code of Practice suggests : “Avoid sowing toxic baits on snow. With regard to rocky outcrops, these should be evaluated along with other timing and boundary decisions in operational planning. Seek advice from technical and science advisors for your situation”.


I received this email from Ron Eddy in March, 2017, re dropping 1080 in SNOW!:

“Now to 1080 in snow. …… at a meeting in St Arnaud where Josh Kemp, DoC’s Kea scientist was present Kemp answered my comment about dropping 1080 in snow. He replied “We never drop in snow.” I then pulled those photos out and silence reigned from the DoC side of the discussion. I think there was a drastic reduction in Nelson Lakes Kea after that 2008 drop because that was when they brought in the 2009 code of practice for 1080 operations in Kea habitat. That also brought in DoC’s Kea monitoring as the first operation shown on that chart is the 2008 Arawhata one. No mention of the Red Hills / Beeby’s / St Arnaud N Face or Upper Wairau ones though. In a reply to someone on the ‘net Kemp denied the Nelson Lakes NP area had had 1080 dropped on it at that time.

About a week after the Upper Wairau operation into snow I went through an area of it and found 1080 baits that hadn’t been touched … they had blown up like sausages. 1080 lasts a lot longer in cold conditions, the cold keeps it viable and to me, those baits were still viable because the hard centres in them were still solid. They went ahead with that drop knowing we were in for a large drop of snow and to my mind they were wanting to get every possum they could even though they knew there were very few possums there . Their monitoring told them so.

To have a deep blanket of snow also took away the food sources of our native birds. For them to see bright green coloured cereal baits on top of the snow would have been an open invitation to have free feed. Especially the Kea. That no doubt is also the reason DoC now diversionary feed Kea during 1080 drops in the Nelson Lakes NP area. That still didn’t stop one Kea that we know of from dying from 1080 poisoning in the 2014 operation.

In DoC’s revised 2014 “DOC code of practice for aerial 1080 operations in Kea habitat” on page 12 is a series of questions and answers in regard to aerial 1080 operations. Question 3 reads, ” We are planning to sow 0.15% 1080 Pellets in some open alpine areas to protect Rock Wren. What is the best timing to achieve this, considering that there could be snow for some of the year? Should rocky areas above the tussock be excluded?”

The answer is “Avoid sowing toxic baits on snow. With regard to rocky outcrops, these should be evaluated along with other timing and boundary decisions in operational planning. Seek advice from technical and science advisors for your situation.”

Apart from the directive in that answer I think the rest of the above info should give you a pretty good idea why 1080 baits shouldn’t be dropped on snow. Considering Rock Wren live in rock outcrops it appears their lack of knowledge on this subject contributed towards the demise of those 25 Kahurangi NP Rock Wren in 2014….. ” Ron Eddy, St Arnaud


Clyde Graf said : “DoC dropped 1080 poison directly into snow in the Rainbow Skyfield area, St Arnaud – Nelson Lakes, back in 2008 I think it was. We filmed a bunch of poisoned birds laying on the snow, along with the baits. The poison is well preserved in snow, but these poisoning agencies are only about getting the poison dumped into the environment, not about what happens to it or where it ends up.” See photo above.

Photos :

lake hawea by kirstin dana

1) Timaru Creek, Lake Hawea ( the last two mountains on the left are Corner Peak and Dingle Peak – then Timaru Creek comes out into Lake Hawea- then Breast Peak is basically that whole large range on the right ) – Photo Kirstin Dana 5 June, 2018

2 ) (Header) Dead birds found in snow beside 1080 baits, St Arnaud – Photo Clyde Graf, 2008

ospri 1080 zone map timaru crk lake hawea winter 2018

3 ) OSPRI 1080 aerial drop zone, Timaru Creek