Biodiversity Enlightenment from Scientist Jim Hilton

IMG_5889KIN is much obliged to Jim Hilton (left), for allowing us to publish his address. Former travel journalist, Leslie Clague, organised the division into ten and she provides some personal perspectives below, on the issues Jim raised in his excellent talk. All the instalments can be found in the New Zealand’s Biodiversity section above.


Greater clarity on biodiversity and poisoning

By Leslie Clague

I speak with more confidence now in regards to my anti-1080 position, bolstered by Jim Hilton’s talk to the Nelson Science Society. Hilton gave such a clear explanation of New Zealand’s history of the relationship between mankind and nature and nature’s strength in biodiversity.

Originally I was informed by Bill Benfield’s book The Third Wave: Poisoning the Land. Hilton’s work reinforces the Benfield position. It is good to report that Benfield will be coming out with another book fairly soon: At War With Nature: Conservation and the Extinction Industry.

Poison pellets on the Turangi paths

Tongariro walkway

In the meantime, here in Turangi, battling poisoning continues. This time it’s not 1080, but potassium cyanide pellets in bait traps all along the Tongariro River walkways. The odd sign is here and there reminding people how deadly this poison can be to dogs and children. The spreading started 21 January, during school holidays.

Spreaders are EPRO NZ Ltd., “agricultural contractors” that interestingly also do helicopter drops of 1080. Why are the river walkways being covered in poison? The contractor has been hired by TbFree New Zealand to combat possums carrying Tb that infect cattle. It has been noted that less than one percent of New Zealand’s possum population carry Tb. Poor stock management is more to blame than possums.

If the bait traps were nestled in real bush, perhaps not too bad, but the blue pellet baits have been found scattered within two metres of where tourists and locals walk every day. Letting your pet dog free to snuffle in the bush or swim in the river is now not an option.

The poisoning is to continue to May.

Reality on biodiversity

So the more the reality of biodiversity can be relayed by quality writers and activists – Benfield, Hilton, the Graf Brothers – so much the better. Nature manages itself. It doesn’t need mankind’s interference.

1080 sign

Somehow we have to gain the ear of those in power not to opt for easy solutions – throw a bit of poison around. We need to make/keep New Zealand really clean and green and healthy. Relying on chemicals and poisons, although wonderfully enriching for some, is not the answer.

But the powers that be don’t agree. The latest organisation (established 2013) is Predator Free New Zealand. Check out the web site to get their positive hype: http//

Actually, if you want to rid New Zealand of predators, start with humans.