Dead Westland petrels, weka, octopus, starfish, a goat, crabs, crayfish and skate fish were amongst the rat carcasses washed up on a West Coast beach. Stuff, Wednesday 12 November
From Carol Sawyer
WESTPORT’S NORTH BEACH ‘RATGATE’- AERIAL 1080 DROP, MARUIA – A MASSIVE 104 TONNES 1080 BAITS
How the rats probably got to North Beach
Former local, Ron Eddy, has sent me the following:
“The theory the rats may have come from the Springs Junction area is possible because the Maruia River empties into the Buller below Murchison and then it is a straight run down to Westport … my old home town! The fact they have ended up on the North Beach would be due to the rats being floating out of the mouth of the Buller and then being picked up by the strong northerly current that runs straight up the West Coast. With extended breakwaters out into the sea the rats would have then been sucked around the end of the Northern one and then been washed up on the beach.
If this is the case then that scenario is one of deep concern …. 1080 affected animals carried so far and still a viable agent for secondary poisoning? If cockroaches full of brodifacoum can kill Tuatara by secondary poisoning then 1080 laden rats could kill dogs and any other animal that ate them.”
The nature and scope of the recent 1080 drop
This aerial 1080 drop was carried out on 1 and 2 November, 2019. DoC used their new sowing method of overlapping flight paths to give a 50% greater amount of 1080 baits dropped, so that 1.5 kgs per ha became 2.25 kgs per ha. The area poisoned was, according to the map, 46,067.14ha, which equates to 103, 651 kgs x toxic 1080 baits.
Poisoning activity in the Buller area
The Department of Conservation position
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is presuming the rats died from an aerial 1080 drop in the Lewis Pass National Reserve recently washed down with the help of over half a metre of rainfall on the West Coast over the past week. The results of toxicology tests on the rats and a sample of the marine life washed up were due back by the end of this week. Stuff. Tuesday 12 November.
(Carol Sawyer is a Wanaka environmental activist, strongly opposed to poisoning the land.)