KIN ran two stories earlier in the month related to a 1080 poison dump near Wanaka. (Scroll down to March 2 and March 6.) Anti-1080 activist, Carol Sawyer, has now found out from the Otago Regional Council that DoC did not follow its own rules.
Poisoners in breach of the consents
By Roger Childs
The Department of Conservation’s (DoC) 1080 drop in the Makarora area, did not meet their own criteria for reducing rat numbers, and was carried out after the preferred timing.
The DoC application to the Otago Regional Council, justified poisoning the land in the area, to reduce rat numbers to below 5% in rat tracking tunnels. In answer to an Official Information Act (OIA) request, DoC findings revealed that only 1.9% of 2,280 tracking tunnels had evidence of rats.
As regards timing, the Discharge Permit Application stated: The preferred timing of aerial operations is between 1 August and 30 December. In other words during the spring. When did it happen? 23 February.
Hunting for a few rats
Rescue helicopters help in bid to kill 43 rats. Only 1.9% rats found over two years of tracking tunnels. OIA request discovers!! Carol Sawyer
Carol’s figures come from the rat tracking surveys carried out by DoC from January 2015 to December 2016. But coming up well short, wasn’t going to stop DoC poisoning this beautiful land. They went ahead over two days in February this year using Seven HeliOtago helicopters, two of which were from HeliOtago’s air ambulance fleet.
Last month’s 1080 poison operation at Makarora covered 38,500 ha of the beautiful Makarora, Young and Wilkin Valleys .Carol Sawyer
However, it was supposed to happened in spring of 2016. After all, as Minister of Conservation, Maggie Barry, said in her Battle for the Birds campaign last year:
As rats increase due to the readily-available food source, so will the number of stoats which feed on rats. Once the seeds germinate and the food source disappears in early spring, the plague of millions of starving rats and tens of thousands of hungry stoats will turn on native wildlife, bringing disaster if we do nothing.
A waste of time and money
The evidence from Otago District Council Principal Consents Officer, Peter Chistophers and DoC’s research, showed that the Makarora drop was not justified. As Carol observes it was also based on faulty logic.
1080 is ineffective against mice and it is likely to cause plagues of them, as well as kill native birds. How were they going to kill the stoats if there weren’t any poisoned rats?
Given that mice tend to avoid 1080 pellets, and that stoats don’t eat pellets either, and need to eat poisoned prey to be killed by 1080, there was apparently no evidence to justify the aerial drop – unless stoats were intended to be killed by eating poisoned birds!
The 1080 madness needs to stop
DoC has been poisoning the land with 1080 for over 50 years and there is no peer reviewed evidence that it has done any good.
On the contrary, there is plenty of research and anecdotal evidence to suggest that sodium fluoroacetate, which was developed as an insecticide, has killed large numbers of birds and a major item of their diet: insects. A number of dogs and deer have died from 1080, and it is probably only a matter of time before a child or some trampers are killed.
The interference of people in the ecosystem throws natural interactions out of balance. Just as in north Sydney, where a campaign to kill foxes led to the proliferation of rabbits and bandicoots.
And is it going to get easier for the poisoners in New Zealand? The government’s plans to amend the Resource Management Act could mean less regulation and wider time frames.