Do exercise the precautionary principle folks, even if your authorities are not. And warn any tourists personally that you know. Generally they follow what the glossy clean and green brochures say, or omit to say would be more to the point. See further info on the precautionary principle below. EWR
MILFORD SOUND – A REPORT
by Carol Sawyer
Note: for recent related articles on Milford Sound go to this link.
Milford Sound was aerially 1080 poisoned on 15 October, 2019. A tourist operator tells me that the helicopters were even pouring 1080 poison on the vertical faces of Sheardown Peak (top photo) These are vertical faces, with the odd patch of bush hanging off them, where nothing will be living.
The water source for all Milford Sound drinking water, the Bowen River, was also aerially poisoned right up to 100 metres above the water intake, and just 200 metres from the Bowen Falls. Dead carcasses will also be in that waterway.
Last time part of this area was poisoned Shane Wilson drove all the way from Otautau, Perrin Brown came from Te Anau, and Margaret Dynes travelled all the way from Winton…. to record the event. Shane filmed tourists filling their water bottles at Monkey Creek while the choppers dropped poison overhead.
Header image: Sheardown Peak, Milford Sound
The NZ authorities do not practice the precautionary principle with the spreading of 1080 poison. In fact they are now legally allowed to drop it into your waterways without the previously required consents, even though the manufacturer’s warning says take care not to drop it into the waterways. Whilst they continue to claim it is harmless, there is much independent research that says otherwise. (See 1080science for further independent info). In light of that, in my opinion it is safer to follow the precautionary principle, that is, proceed as if there were a possible risk to your health rather than assume there is none. Since 1080 is a known teratogen I believe it is particularly important for pregnant mothers or even those who think they may be or who could be pregnant, to distance themselves from an area where 1080 is being distributed, particularly aerially because of the drift of the dust over long distances. I believe these are the concerns being raised here, and particularly also with regard to warning tourists of the risks of drinking the water, who may not be able to read the signs (if there indeed are any). Finally, of particular concern is the topography of Milford Sound. When it rains as per the above image, “all of the steep landscape can be considered a streambed”. EWR.
Remember, this is what Milford local Sacha Stevenson recently wrote to DoC about. No warning signs for tourists. Turns out they won’t be putting any up about the water, just the usual signs with the skull on to warn them since they haven’t resources to put signs up in every tourist’s language. Signs will only indicate pellets, not the risk of water contamination. And the other rationale cited, that it’s ‘extremely unlikely’ the water will be poisoned. Whatever happened to the precautionary principle? Not good enough. EWR
By Carol Sawyer Video by Shane Wilson
“Oh well”, says the NZ government, “They’re Chinese. They don’t know any different. What do we care?!”
It’s appalling actually. No self-respecting Kiwi (on second thoughts there might be a few) would drink out of those creeks in the middle of a 1080 poison drop – or afterwards. Shane Wilson watched as four busloads of tourists stopped there on “Aerial 1080 Poison Day” and filled up their water bottles. They probably thought the helicopters were taking tourists for a joyride! Shane tried to warn some of them but they didn’t understand him.
Correction: the trampers were on the Nydia, not the Heaphy Track.
Sadly this is what has happened on more than one occasion in (not) clean green New Zealand. A warning about 1080 poison a Class 1A Ecotoxin that unbelievably NZ authorities claim is not very dangerous: our authorities do not practice the precautionary principle with the spreading of 1080 poison. In fact they are now legally allowed to drop it into your waterways without the previously required consents, even though the manufacturer’s warning says take care not to drop it into the waterways. Whilst they continue to claim it is harmless, there is much independent research that says otherwise. (See 1080science for further independent info). In light of that, in my opinion it is safer to follow the precautionary principle, that is, proceed as if there were a possible risk to your health rather than assume there is none. Since 1080 is a known teratogen I believe it is particularly important for pregnant mothers or even those who think they may be or who could be pregnant, to distance themselves from an area where 1080 is being distributed, particularly aerially because of the drift of the dust over long distances.
So if you are out tramping, visiting from overseas or just an unaware local, you’d be wise to take your own drinking water (don’t use the streams, taps etc) and check very carefully with DoC when making plans to be sure there will be no drop in your vicinity. The signage it appears, is not always there to warn you. (See further notes & info below the Stuff article). EWR
A couple are angry and upset that a holiday weekend tramp through a Pelorus Sound track ended with them being “dusted” with 1080 bait.
Kaiuma Bay couple Simon and Carol Caley have written an open letter of complaint to the minister of conservation, and are also seeking an apology for his department’s “complete and utter failure to protect the public” after pellets were dropped near them from a helicopter on Saturday.
Health and conservation authorities are investigating how toxic 1080 bait was spilled on to the track.
The Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service (PHS) is investigating a breach of a condition under which a Department of Conservation (DOC) 1080 drop was permitted in Pelorus Sound over the weekend.
A must watch also 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.
So according to this article from the News Room, Ngāi Tahu have been instrumental in the loss of habitat for the small brown Eyrewell beetle in NZ… and it would appear, DoC almost powerless to stop them? The little beetle, like many insects world wide, is becoming extinct (not that any manufacturers of the lucrative poisons slathered world wide over everything would care).
Whatever you may think about Ngāi Tahu or their part in the demise of this beetle DoC can hardly point fingers at them witness our increasingly silent forests in NZ. They are dropping tonnes of the insecticide 1080 all over our ecosystem like a veritable lolly scramble, with no long term studies to prove to us it is saving our birds as it claims. On top of all that they actually claim it targets pests (& does not kill non target creatures) when clearly by their own documented information & independent science, 1080 kills every living breathing organism period. The little beetle here also began its demise with the ongoing planting & felling of pine forests. So really it’s a bit rich all round to be pointing the finger at Ngāi Tahu. Aside from that, turn the clock back a century and a bit & you’ll find the ongoing cry was that Māori lands that were uncultivated or not farmed were ‘waste’ lands, a good reason why Māori shouldn’t own them. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
Search for Eyrewell Forest on Google Maps and you won’t find a forest. In fact, what you see looks similar to surrounding Canterbury farm land.
What was once a forest is now home to 14,000 dairy cows. Satellite photographs show a tell-tale pattern of circles where centre-pivot irrigators are busy creating grass where trees once stood.
The forest was home to a small, dark brown beetle commonly known as the Eyrewell ground beetle. Globally, only 10 have ever been found. All were found amongst trees in Eyrewell Forest, the last in 2005.
The beetles’ home was returned to Ngāi Tahu as part of a treaty settlement in 2000. Since then the 6700 hectares of plantation pines have steadily disappeared and dairy cows have taken over.
“The success and effectiveness of Ngāi Tahu Farming is connected to the health and wellbeing of the lands, waterways, plants and animals under our care which is central to our kaitiakitanga values.”
The march of chainsaws, shredders and pivot irrigators continued despite eight years of effort by the Department of Conservation (DOC) to convince Ngāi Tahu Farming to save some the beetles’ habitat in reserves.
In October 2018 Ngāi Tahu Farming told Stuff the last of the forest would be removed for the intensive dairy conversion. Its CEO Andrew Priest said the organisation turns to Ngāi Tahu values guide their farming.
“The success and effectiveness of Ngāi Tahu Farming is connected to the health and wellbeing of the lands, waterways, plants and animals under our care which is central to our kaitiakitanga values.”
According to him 120 hectares of plantation pine has been retained. From aerial photographs it appears this has been done only in one area where beetles were possibly found. Other areas where beetles were found are treeless, one area has a small amount of scrub.
Priest said Lincoln University has been surveying the likely remaining spots of the beetle since 2013. No beetles have been found. He said search efforts will be abandoned in 2020.
The risk of extinction is so extreme one scientist, Eckehard Brockerhoff, who found five of the 10 collected beetles, is considered penning an obituary.
If he does, the obituary will be scant on detail of the beetle as so little is known about it. It’s a bit over 1cm long, nocturnal, and scientists think it lives for two years.
Wingless and described as a “moderate” runner it has managed to move from the kānuka it inhabited in the 1920s to the plantation pine which replaced it. It could even be called tenacious, as it also survived repeated rounds of removing and replacing areas of plantation pine as areas of forest were progressively logged and replanted.
Whether its tenacity could survive the dairy conversion is another matter according to Brockerhoff who spent thousands of trapping days attempting to find the beetle in the early 2000s. His efforts netted five beetles.
“It [the dairy conversion] involves felling all the trees, ripping out the root stock and then pretty much mulching the coarser woody material which is left behind into small chips. They took like a giant shredder over it. It was a very effective method of not only shredding any plant matter, but any invertebrates that are larger than a pinhead. I didn’t think the beetles would have stood much of a chance to survive in those converted areas.”
In the views of the scientists, setting aside a reserve of plantation pine where beetles were found in the 6700 ha property could have given the beetle a fighting chance.
Brockerhoff sums up Ngāi Tahu Farming’s reception to the idea of establishing a reserve to save the beetles habitat as “a bit reluctant.”
Documents attained under the Official Information Act show repeated efforts were made by DOC between 2005 and 2013 to promote the creation of a reserve.
Emails exchanges started off cheerfully. A 2009 email from DOC to Ngāi Tahu’s rural manager reads: “Just been chatting to [redacted name] here at DOC re the possibility of setting up a reserve at Eyrewell – the same chat we had about two years ago I’m sure you recall!!!”
Once trees started to be cut down and with no formal agreement about the creation of a reserve the tone grew more urgent. In internal DOC emails frustration is clear.
“It’s fine for private landowners to develop their land, however it seems absurd for us a community to be allowing the unplanned clearance of much of the forest when this will knowingly cause the extinction of Holcaspis [Eyrewell ground beetle] …”
A plan by Ngāi Tahu Farming to reserve 150ha of pine forest was called “commendable”, however, the location of the reserve was not in the area where the beetle had been found. Restoration planting Ngāi Tahu Farming was planning to undertake was also not considered to be a solution which would save the beetle.
“… preserving a small amount of their habitat before it is gone will give us a great chance of saving these species from global extinction and regional extinction respectively, and one that is far more effective than some-how recreating their habitat … some minor changes to the location and size of the reserves would effectively save these species from extinction.”
DOC staff listed their attempts at finding a way to save the beetles’ habitat through the district and regional council pathways. A judicial review was suggested, although it was noted this was with some nervousness as there would be several “legal fish hooks”.
There was no judicial review. After 2013, the emails stopped.
DOC Mahaanui operations manager Andy Thompson said he understood Ngāi Tahu Farming commissioned Lincoln University to help with restoration efforts after 2013. Thompson was not aware of what the outcome has been and whether DOC’s eight years campaigning for a reserve had any effect.
“DOC would have loved to have seen a reserve created and an Eyrewell ground beetle population flourishing. The reality is we can only provide advice for managing biodiversity values on private land or advocate through consent processes and district council plans.
“We don’t have the ability to directly manage private land.”
“The fact that most of the forest has gone and now no beetles are being found means they’ve likely already been driven extinct, and a couple more years of trapping will probably confirm that.”
Ngāi Tahu Farming’s response
Priest said the plight of the beetle was an issue of importance to Ngāi Tahu Farming.
“Since 2013, Lincoln University has been surveying the Eyrewell Forest area at the request of Ngāi Tahu and has found no beetles. They have surveyed in the likely remaining sites using the same techniques as the original survey and have not found any beetles after searching for approximately 30,000 trap days. These annual surveys will continue until 2020 at this stage.
“In this area, approximately 120ha of pine forest has been retained and at least another 100ha of land has been set aside for native kānuka shrub land restoration. The pine forest in the central section of the development has not been cleared away, which is important to note because it is in this area that Canterbury Beetles [Eyrewell beetles] were once recorded.”
Ngāi Tahu Farming have been asked to clarify where these areas are on an aerial map but did not respond prior to publishing.
Wikipedian-at-large and keen entomologist Doctor Mike Dickison has expressed concern over the plight of the beetles for several months. He was not impressed by Ngāi Tahu Farming’s efforts.
“The preferred habitat of the beetle is pine forest, and they’ve removed 98.3% of the pine forest, chipped and mulched what’s left, and turned it into dairy pasture.”
With only one of the areas the beetle has been found in left as forest he suspects it will never be seen again.
“The fact that most of the forest has gone and now no beetles are being found means they’ve likely already been driven extinct, and a couple more years of trapping will probably confirm that.”
He’s not reassured by the claims of restoration efforts. During a recent visit to the area he saw planting in the corners of centre-pivot irrigated paddocks with dead plants.
A Lincoln University website show what it calls a “distributed forest” as being proposed for the farm. Concept drawings show thin rings of native trees surrounding centre-pivot irrigators.
Brockerhoff said when he was in talks with Ngāi Tahu Farming it hoped shelter belts which were going to be established between irrigated paddocks would provide enough habitat for the beetles.
“We suggested a single row of trees in the landscape established after the habitat conversion would probably not do the trick.”
He was unsurprised at the news no beetles have been found since he found the last one in 2005.
“I think the surveys done from 2013 onwards was after the pine forest had been cleared.”
He said while guesswork was involved, it’s probable no beetles have been found because the forests gone: “The shredding and the mulching would not have left a lot of invertebrates behind.”
While 120ha might sound like a large area it’s still a limited habitat according to Brockerhoff.
“Even if there is a population there, there’s no guarantee they can actually survive there.”
“The decision to convert Eyrewell Forest to pasture has been driven by an economic assessment of profitability, with little consideration of biodiversity values.”
Why can’t we save a beetle?
Insects on private land don’t have much protection. The only exception is if they are listed as protected under the Wildlife Act. Despite being on a DOC list of 150 conservation priority species, the Eyrewell ground beetle is not on the list of protected insects.
A draft policy for indigenous biodiversity has been written which could cover insects in the future, however, there’s disagreement about plantation forests. The Forest Owners’ Association and Federated Farmers want a special exclusion stopping any plantation forest from being classed as being worthy of protection, regardless of what threatened species might live there.
While most don’t think of commercial pine forests as hotbeds of biodiversity they’ve become home to a surprising number of New Zealand’s threatened species. A 2010 article published in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology found 118 species listed as threated live in plantation forests. These include birds such as kiwi and falcons, bats, fish, plants, and invertebrates like the Eyrewell ground beetle.
The article makes special mention of the Eyrewell forest:
“However, this forest, along with several others in this area, is currently being converted to pasture, primarily for dairying. The decision to convert Eyrewell Forest to pasture has been driven by an economic assessment of profitability, with little consideration of biodiversity values. If the conversion is implemented without setting aside adequate areas of suitable habitat for H. brevicula [Eyrewell beetle] (i.e. plantation forest or restored kānuka forest) then this species is likely to become extinct in the near future.”
Brockerhoff’s most optimistic view of the likelihood the beetles’ tenacity might help it survive the dairy conversion is far from inspiring.
“The chances aren’t too good but it’s difficult to say.”
Posted recently in 1080 social media pages (name supplied):
Graham says: “Just before Christmas my worker and I were clearing back overhanging foliage from a footpath in a built up area. Along came an elderly gentleman on his little scooter thing they have these days. He wanted to stop for a yarn so we obliged. He was 82 and had just made one last journey back home to the area he grew up in … the West coast. He went to all his childhood and teenage years haunts and spent time, a lot of it in and on bush tracks.
I asked him did he notice much in the way of change since those days?
The Birds he said … the place used to be full of native birds but all he saw on this whole trip there was one Weka. Everything has gone. The bush is now dead. No Kiwi, no Weka or Tui, even the Kea had gone.
“The place used to be lousy with Keruru, now nothing. He has no doubt whatsoever that 1080 is to blame. It’s just destroyed everything.
Where he lives now, and I have no idea where that is, he said he had planted lots of Kowhai and every year the Tui came and he used to sit on the front porch and watch them … this year … nothing … not one bird.
But of course a lifetime’s observation is unscientific and counts for nothing.”
“… a lifetime’s observation is unscientific and counts for nothing” … note that even the independent science from bona fide scientists counts for nothing. Only the ‘science’ that the authorities sign off is considered acceptable. Remember the recent post citing Reihana Robinson in ‘The Killing Nation’ and the revelation that 70% of the Department of Conservation’s ‘scientific’ studies justifying the aerial distribution of 1080 are done in-house?
Header Photo: Tui in Kowhai tree (envirowatchrangitikei)
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.
If you are pro poisoning of the environment, EnvirowatchRangitikei is not the place to espouse your opinions. Mainstream would be the place to air those. This is a venue for sharing the independent science you won’t of course find there.
Finally we don’t endorse violence in any way shape or form. We are not terrorists.
NOTE: Periodically & randomly the facebook share option will disappear from posts on the front (this) page. If it is not appearing, click on the heading of the article to go to its own page, usually the share button will show up there. (All else failing copy & past the url to your facebook page).
“On the night of the 30th November [the day of the last 1080 drop] a single kea was heard screaming in the trees behind the township. After that the five kea in Haast township were never seen again. Two years later there are still no kea in Haast Township … twenty years of Compound 1080 in the Haast Valley has killed our kea population … and on the 15th November 2018 the Department of Conservation plan to aerially drop Compound 1080 poison again on Haast……”
The photo above is the saddest thing I have seen in years – taken today – a flax bush in full flower and not a single kea to be seen.
Back in November 2010 the flax bushes in Haast township were filled with the noise and antics of kea fighting over the sweet nectar. One evening I saw seven kea in one bush. The next photo was taken on the 10th November 2010……..
By April 2016 we had five kea permanently living in the town – this photo below was taken on the 12th April 2016………..
But on the 30th November 2016 the Department of Conservation as part of their Battle for our Birds campaign aerial spread Compound 1080 near Haast township (True Left Haast drop zone)……..
On the night of the 30th November a single kea was heard screaming in the trees behind the township. After that the five kea in Haast township were never seen again. Two years later there are still no kea in Haast Township ………..
So the flax bush flowers and there is nothing to eat its sweet nectar. Compound 1080 does not increase native bird numbers………… Sixty years of Compound 1080 has not saved New Zealand wildlife…….. twenty years of Compound 1080 in the Haast Valley has killed our kea population………..
And on the 15th November 2018 the Department of Conservation plan to aerially drop Compound 1080 poison again on Haast……
What can one say, Timaru you did a great job in turning up to a very important cause.
8th of September 2018 will go down in the record books for the amount of people who came together, to stand together and to voice their concern over the use of a poison, 1080.
Throughout New Zealand, from the Cape to Bluff, over the last 5-6 months, two blokes set about creating awareness on both islands. Alan and Emile began the HIKOI OF A POISONED NATION.
Incredibly brave move as it was the cold winter months and the 8th Sept was the day they would congregate in Wellington outside the Beehive.
Not sure on the actual number, but with Wellington holding the main event, many, many towns throughout both islands, came together in full support for the banning of 1080.
I was born and bred here in Timaru, I went away for a few years but returned. Only the day before (the 7th) I saw some post that was looking like a typical Timaru response, ONLY 6 were showing as going. I thought that was just typical of Timaru, so many voice their own opinion, so many not having much knowledge on many topics, but when action takes place, you don’t see them.
I was absolutely wrapped in what i saw outside the Timaru City Council building. One by one, the people gathered and in the matter of 4–50minutes, an incredibly great turn out.
Well done to ALL who showed, well done to the ones who organized the Timaru 1080 Gathering and as we all get together, country wide, lets hope that common sense takes place and this government actually KILLS 1080 ONCE AND FOR ALL.
I see many posts where the blame points to the immediate government, it can’t just be blamed on this one, as over the last 30 years, this criminal element has been going on through many puppets, of different parties.
If this Government now, run my Jacinda Adern wants to put herself and party on the map of good, NOW IS THE TIME. KILL KILL KILL 1080!!!
Timaru, this video is for you, all those that supported a worthy cause in exposing and bringing an end to this democidal ingredient. #hikoiofapoisonednation
LUGGATE, NR WANAKA, OSPRI AERIAL 1080 POISON DROP GOES AHEAD, 19 JULY, 2018 – INCLUDING INTO THE ALICE BURN AND INTO LUGGATE CREEK
Despite a petition against the Luggate 1080 drop having 4,208 signatures, and a massive effort by some members of the local community to stop this drop, or at the very least have their concerns heard.
Despite the fact that, with no justification, OSPRI walked out of a public meeting, held to discuss the Luggate 1080 drop – a fact backed up in a media report by TBfreeNZ committee member Phil Hunt, who was there at the time.
Despite the fact that they have since destroyed the film they took of that meeting, which would have shown a calm and non-threatening gathering of 30 people, whereas they claimed they walked out over fears for their safety.( They had two security guards – these OSPRI men are mice ).
Despite the fact they have refused consistently to answer Luggate community queries since, ( with OSPRI Operations Extension officer Jennifer Lawn even hanging up the phone on Luggate resident Tracey Morrow, saying she didn’t have time for this conversation).
Despite the fact they have steadfastly refused to do any proper community consultation
Despite all of this and more……the drop goes ahead. These people care nothing for small communities or their concerns
1 ) OSPRI notification of aerial 1080 drop scheduled 19 July, 2018 – Wanaka Sun, 12 July, 2018
2 ) Map of drop zone ( We think ! There have been four maps !)
3 ) Photograph of public meeting in the Lake Wanaka Centre, 31 May, 2018, after OSPRI walked out. Phil Hunt, TBfree NZ committee member tried to assist by answering questions as well as he could.
OSPRI RESPONSE TO RECENT QUESTIONING RE CLARENCE RESERVE, MARLBOROUGH, IN RELATION TO AERIAL 1080 POISONING
Carol Sawyer writes: “This correspondence was sent to me by a Facebook friend last night and I felt it was worth posting in its entirety. It includes, for example, such questions as whether any rat and/or possum population assessment was carried out on the Clarence Reserve – either before or after the Oct 2016 aerial 1080 poison drop.
Nick Hancox, OSPRI Policy Advisor, is clearly rattled by reference to their release of deliberately Tb-infected possums.
He says below (6 July, 2017) “In closing I ask you to note that the deliberate release of TB-infected possums (for research purposes) was into a small area of the Orongorongo Valley, where TB in possums was already chronic and at high prevalence. The experimental release was immaterial in regard to disease risk and prevalence in the area. Unfortunately this matter has been the subject of a number of ill-founded and frankly mischievous pubic statements and claims.”
He appears to be denying the same thing was done at Muzzle Station in the Clarence Reserve. Well it was!
So I have also included earlier correspondence I had myself with OSPRI (April 2016) re deliberately infected possums released on Muzzle Station. Muzzle Station leases about 8,000 ha of the Clarence Reserve.”
Not sure of how many more of these might have been done but all would have been under a controlled conditions where TB animals can be traced and removed and where TB is already in wildlife in the area.
I asked Phil if he thought they would kill all the remaining possums with the 1080 drop and he said they would kill 90% of the possums and eventually do two more drops and get the rest!
********************************************************** RECENT CORRESPONDENCE WITH OSPRI :
Information request to TBfree
Sent: Monday, 3 April 2017 6:03:33 p.m.
Subject: TBfree Contact Us Form
Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Conservation Park, including the hunting area known as Clarence Reserve, near Kaikoura, South Island was subjected to aerial 1080 poisoning on the 16 Oct 2016 as part of the agency TB Free’s ‘pesticide control’.
An OIA response from TBFree informed me that the rationale for the operation was because 10 pigs over 2 years were found with TB and that there had been ‘an assumption’ (scientific knowledge unknown) that possum were therefore carrying it too.
Recent OIA results from DoC’s aerial 1080 poison drop at Makarora Valley, South Island revealed that no possum count had been undertaken at all and that rat population assessments revealed very low levels of rats.
With this in mind, I am interested to know the following:
Whether any rat and/or possum population assessment was carried out at Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Conservation Park – either before or after the Oct 2016 aerial 1080 poison drop. Please provide detailed methodology and results of these assessments (if they exist).
I understand that there is a current proposal for a further 44,000 hectares adjacent to the Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Conservation Park to be aerial 1080 poisoned later in 2017 – The Clarence River reserve. Can you explain why this proposal does not currently appear on DoC Pesticide Summary Interactive map? Can you clarify where such information might be readily available to the public and tourists translations if required?
Finally, can you please provide full details of the rationale for this proposed 1080 poison operation at Clarence Reserve and whether this is at all connected to the 10 wild pigs contained in the previous rationale? Again, I need measurement and assessment (methodology, results) of rats and possum populations within this specific area within the last 5 years (if this exists).
For the purposes of this OIA I confirm I am an NZ resident.
Post-operational monitoring of possum density has not been carried out for the Kowhai-Swyncombe operation. It is our normal practice to monitor possum densities no earlier than 2-3 years after aerial control operations. This later monitoring is more useful, in that it provides an indication of any population recovery and thus allows us to begin the process of monitoring the need for further control work.
Information provided to you on 13 March 2017 (as attached) on findings of TB infected pigs was in relation to TBfree’s planned 2017 Clarence Reserve operation. This operation was originally planned to commence from 1 July 2017. However we are currently negotiating timing of the operation with affected landowners, which is likely to result in a later start date for this operation, possibly in November.
We have no possum monitoring results from the Clarence Reserve operational area. Possum numbers are assumed to be high enough to warrant control, because of the lack of previous possum control in the area. As previously advised to you, the history of TB in both livestock and wild pigs from the area is strongly indicative of TB infection in possums.
We do not monitor rat populations associated with TB possum control operations unless this is specifically required by the Department of Conservation.
DOC Pesticide Summary information for the Clarence Reserve Operation will appear after DOC has been formally notified of a detailed operational plan. This requires consent and boundary agreements to be finalised with affected and neighbouring landowners. Negotiations towards this are still in progress, so the Pesticide Summary may not appear for another month or more. Formal prior notification of the operation – as required under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act – involves a number of steps, including:
· Written notification and visits to all land occupiers within and adjacent to the control area
· Written notice to known likely users of the area, such as hunting and outdoors groups and clubs, concession holders and guides
· A public meeting in Kaikoura which will be advertised
· Notices in local newspapers
· Signposting at all likely access points
Attached for your information is a factsheet for the Clarence Reserve Operation, which will be distributed as part of the above notification. The factsheet for last year’s Kowhai-Swyncombe operation is also attached.
Can you please inform me as to why the Clarence River area cattle herd apparently historically displaying bTb has not been culled? Whilst travelling in this area last month, it was obvious that cattle were being walked down public highways through traffic and other contamination risks.
It seems blatantly obvious to me that with no possum assessment or monitoring done and no changes to the way cattle are transported through the area, and no culling of infected herds, that the situation will remain the same.
This cycle of aerial poisoning without scientific rationale – especially when elsewhere possum are being deliberately infected with Tb and released into the environment – is unsustainable and the Directors of Ospri & Doc will now become accountable.
From: Nick Hancox <Nick.Hancox@tbfree.org.nz> Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2017 at 13:59
Without knowing exactly which cattle were being moved where, it is difficult for me to comment. However when cattle are driven along roads, this is usually to move them from one paddock to another within their home farm. This in itself would not create risk of infection spreading to other cattle herds, and in the Clarence Reserve locality, wildlife TB will be also be present, so local droving of cattle along roads would not create any additional disease transmission risks. There are strict controls on movement of cattle from infected herds to live sale or to other herds, and in most cases movement direct to slaughter is the only realistic option. Transmission of TB from cattle to humans (other than by drinking unpastuerised milk from a cow with advanced tuberculous mastitis, or through close and confined contact such as in a milking shed) is extremely unlikely.
TB-infected herds are subject to regular TB tests and all test-positive animals are culled. This usually sufficient to eradicate TB from herds after a few whole-herd tests, unless the herd is exposed to re-infection from wildlife. In the latter case a regular test and slaughter regime can at least keep infection within the herd down to a level where continuing to maintain the herd is feasible and economic.
Whole herd slaughter is an option in some cases but it makes little sense where re-infection from wildlife is likely, as any replacement herd would soon become infected as well.
In closing I ask you to note that the deliberate release of TB-infected possums (for research purposes) was into a small area of the Orongorongo Valley, where TB in possums was already chronic and at high prevalence. The experimental release was immaterial in regard to disease risk and prevalence in the area. Unfortunately this matter has been the subject of a number of ill-founded and frankly mischievous pubic statements and claims.
1 ) (Header) Possum being deliberately injected with Tb before release into wild – Landcare Research photo
2 ) Mustering on Muzzle Station – Musters oldest team member, Rick Denton – Photo RadioNZ
3) Hereford cattle crossing the Clarence River on Muzzle Station – Photo “Stuff”
HOLLYFORD AERIAL 1080 DROP, OCTOBER 2017 – DISASTROUS RESULTS !
(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.)
This 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 have 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.
However, now things have changed and, five months on, the rat plague that is to be eventually expected after a 1080 drop, of triple and even quadruple previous rat numbers, (not that the Dept of Conservation will publicly admit to this), has started.
Three weeks ago the traps were cleared and contained 32 rats. Interestingly, some of the traps had two rats in them, which is apparently unusual.
Last weekend’s 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 have NEVER been caught here in these numbers before !
Add to this the fact that the rats being caught recently are all young rats, this means that a veritable rat plague is on its way, and by the time the anniversary of this virgin 1080 drop comes around this October, a rat plague is what people in the area will be witnessing !
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 relatively recent 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.
There has not been a Morepork or a Kaka seen or heard since the 1080 drop five months ago. ( The “generator” Morepork was also obviously killed by the poison. ) Fantail numbers have taken a major dive, as the insect population has, of course, decreased and consequently the fantails are short of food.
A local helicopter company has had reports, recently, from hunters it transports into hunting areas that deer numbers are ‘low to non-existent’ since the drop.
It is reported that a big pond in the Hollyford River, above Gunn’s Camp, which always had trout, now has none.
FINANCIAL COST OF THIS DISASTER :
This would be very hard to ascertain. Even an OIA request won’t do it, or at least not in the least accurately.
( Take for example the aborted 1080 operation at Makarora, Mt Aspiring National Park, in 2015, where prefeed baits were dropped, but far too late in the year and winter set in so the poison part of the operation never went ahead. The 66 tonnes of poison had to be retrucked back to the North Island and buried in a landfill (it was rumoured to be in Marton). DoC Wanaka claimed the total cost of that farce was $187,000 but figures i spent a long time working on showed the true cost to be well in excess of $1 million – even before the relocation of 1080 back for burial in the North Island ).
HOWEVER, I was told by a very reliable source ( a local helicopter pilot ) that HeliOtago received $1.2 million for this 40,000 hectare aerial 1080 drop in the Hollyford Valley, Fiordland National Park, last October. That of course was only a fraction of the total cost.
Gunn’s Camp – Photo Michael Venter
Kaka – Photo Birding NZ
Morepork ( Ruru ) and young – NZ Birds Online
Gunn’s Camp – Photo Forthloveoftravel
Fantail – Photo Birding NZ
Hollyford River at Gunn’s camp – Photo Earth Burners