Doc to start 1080 control operation on Aug 25

Greg Lind.
Greg Lind.
The Department of Conservation will begin an aerial 1080 control operation in the upper Wakatipu in about a month.

The department confirmed this week the predator control operation, which will cover about 24,000ha in the Dart, Routeburn and Caples Valleys, will begin on August 25.

Part of a South Island-wide operation that will cover about 70,000ha, its aim is to protect threatened bird species from a population surge of rats and stoats after a heavy seeding of beech trees - known as a ''beech mast'' - during the past summer.

Doc's conservation partnerships manager for Queenstown, Greg Lind, said the operation had been timed to ''knock back'' rats and stoats at the early stages of their population boom, and would be completed well before the walking season began.

Monitoring surveys of rat and mice numbers showed there was a ''major predator eruption'' in the three valleys similar to that following a beech mast in 2011.

There had been no aerial 1080 operation in 2011, and the local population of mohua was ''almost eliminated''.

Other bird species in the upper Wakatipu vulnerable to rising predator numbers included whio (blue duck), kaka, kakariki, tuke (rock wren) and kea.

The helicopter operation would take place over two days, separated by at least a week, with the first drop being a ''pre-feed'' of pellets not containing the toxin.

The exact dates of the operation were dependent on the weather, as fine and calm days were essential, he said.

All walking tracks in the three valleys would be closed for both bait drops, while tracks in several side valleys would also be closed, including Fraser Creek, Kay Creek, the Routeburn North Branch, Rock Burn and Beans Burn.

Doc was keeping affected groups up to date with the operation, including landowners, runanga, businesses with concessions in the area and hunting and outdoor recreation groups.

Mast and 1080

Mast years do occur, but they do not universally occur in every species nor in every area. It is therefore a myth that this is a whole of NZ or at least a South Island wide problem. Indeed, it is a myth that masting is always a problem as this also helps our native species. What is not a myth is that 1080 causes rat irruptions and I have already given you two references from both DoC staff and Landcare staff. It was not an allegation that timber can not be exported to China from a production forest which uses 1080. That has remained the truth over a number of years. It is not a myth that the wild venison industry was halted in its tracks when 1080 was found in venison and this industry has never recovered to anything like its former robustness.
You appear to think that Potassium fluror acetate is the same as sodium fluro acetate - chemically it is entirely different. Potassium fluro acetate is an appetite inhibitor produced by some plants to discourage browsing and it does not take effect immediately. Sodium fluoro acetate is a man made poison, not found naturally in the wild and chemically different from the plant produced product. This is commonly misunderstood but you can research "The Chemical Break-down of Compound 1080" produced by Margaret Jarman of Owhango.
What I was trying to say about the mast this year is that it is very patchy, not massive. DoC do not have wide-spread evidence of either the mast, nor of the rat irruptions. Instead widspread hysteria has been promoted by the department and the Minister. Statements have been released saying 1080, which kills anything eating a lethal dose, the good the bad and the ugly, has saved millions of kiwi, kaka and kea. Have I got news for people who think that. Kea are likely in their hundreds now, not thousands, adult kea are killed in nearly every 1080 drop. How many kaka do you think there are? And kiwi, which far more numerous and wide-spread than kaka and kea, are unlikely to be in their millions.
1080 remains a cruel, non-discerning man-made poison which has no antidote. It remains a threat to our farming, tourism, forestry and wild things in our wild lands. [Abridged]


Not true

No timber exports have been stopped - it's only been allged by an anti-1080 website with no links to any facts. Given it's naturlly occuring in some eucalypts which are no doubt exported to China it sounds like scaremongering, like saying watercress takes it up or that it bioaculmulates (which it doesn't). Mast years aren't myths - they happen and create a rat boom, just like there's a mice boom after massive grass or tussock seeding events and yes, it is cyclic. It's related to climate and ground seed collection. You can see the trays used as part of the research in the Catlins bush.

1080 does threaten our exports

Sorry Weka, but many years of experience with 1080 and farming show otherwise. There are many documented cases of farm animals being poisoned at home and minding their own business. They have had either misplaced pellets in their paddocks or contaminated water supplies. Farm animals and milk are not routinely tested in NZ for 1080 residue but if they were, we would all be tightening our belts and living from our vege gardens. Timber from production forests is not able to be exported to China if 1080 is used in those forests. 1080 has been found in trees sent to Japan and they were rejected. Similarly wild animals travel several kilometres after ingesting 1080 and are often to be found in streams and farm paddocks after a drop.
Re Dr Elliot's comments about 1080 causing rat irruptions, watch the video again please - you will see that he does not exclude mast years from his discussion.
1080 has been used in NZ for nearly 60 years. Cover-ups of mistaken use and accidental kills occur several times every year. 1080 remains without an antidote and is a cruel killer. It is a teratogen and yet we allow it in our waterways and around our small towns. As the world wakes up to our horrendous use of this poison, we will have our exports and our tourism affected therefore it does threaten these.
Current panic mast years are not proven, rat irruption evidence is scanty an definitely widespread, DoC do not have it as yet. This so-called wide masting is a hysterical, panic driven excuse to use more 1080. Masting is a natural feature which occurs as the climate dictates and it benefits our native species. 1080 kills a percentage of all species and our native species are not equiped to breed like rats so they will never compete if we keep setting up the environment in the rats' favour by using this poison [Abridged]. 

Farm products not threatened

I think Graeme Elliot's comment refered to non-mast years. I thought he led a lot of the work on yellow heads so would be involved with this planning

Farm products are not threatened by this toxin if farmers follow the signage and don't let animals feed in the area for the 3 month period. It's not a toxin that acculmulates in an animal so does not persist.

Also you can now buy 1080 over the counter in Queensland to combat the wild dog problem.

Continued misuse of 1080 poison

DoC Scientist Dr Graeme Elliot has clearly stated that 1080 is counterproductive to ridding the wilds of rats and stoats.
has all the research you need.  A rat irruption rather than a pest eruption is correct.  Stoats are unable to increase their young this year as they were mated last Autumn and the number of possible young is already decided.  A mast year may indicate more stoats in the following year, however a mast year has not happened universally and it is unwise to upset the balance in this area, rat will irrupt after 1080 use and only may irrupt after a mast.  Wendy Ruscoe's 6 years study found Unexpected and Unwanted results of using 1080, same conclusions as Dr Elliot.  Why is DoC blundering ahead with this poisoning?    All of the birds mentioned by Greg Lind are susceptible to both primary and secondary poisoning which will kill adult birds during the breeding season. They die at rates from 10% to 80% of their local population.  None of the listed "affected" parties have any influence on the outcome , poisoning is occurring without consideration.

Our farm products are threatened by this poison as is our tourism and not to mention our own people.

Any party banning 1080 poison will get my vote, 60 years use is far too much