1080 alternatives some way off

Alternatives to 1080 pest control are in the pipeline but none directly targets the control of rabbits.

A controversial poison, 1080 is considered the most effective tool for rabbit control.

While research has been carried out on toxins and biocontrol and some alternatives have been, or are nearly at, registration stage, they are not targeted at rabbit control.

Toxicologist Dr Charlie Eason said in a Science Media Centre briefing yesterday rabbits had been neglected in the alternative toxin research because much of the funding for the work came from the Animal Health Board whose focus was Tb vectors such as possums.

"Rabbits have not been forgotten. It's just not an area which gets a lot of funding."

Some of the alternative toxins being developed for possum control, such as zinc phosphide and sodium nitrate, could also be effective on rabbits but the "trick was" to get the active ingredients registered and accepted for the control of one species and, "all being equal, then it could be extended to other species", Dr Eason said.

However, the alternatives could take between one and six years before they were an effective control tool.

"There is no magic bullet to replace 1080, but we do have alternatives coming through."


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