This is a story that won’t go away and it shouldn’t. KIN has run three earlier takes on the DoC 1080 drop in the beautiful Mt Aspiring National Park which was unnecessary, dangerous and in the wrong season. ( See March 2, 6 and 25.)
Now the Graf film has come out which provides a visual and oral documentation of this appalling event which was carried out with taxpayers money.
Crime against nature
By Carol Sawyer
On the 23 February, 2017, a “Crime Against Nature” was committed in the Makarora, Wilkin and Young River Valleys of Mt Aspiring National Park.
38,500 hectares were aerially poisoned with 76 tonnes of Compound 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate), one of the deadliest poisons on Earth, banned in most countries, and an eco-toxin, and killing every oxygen-breathing creature that ingests it.
It was dropped indiscriminately from the air by a fleet of seven helicopters on a hot late-summer day, poison raining out of the clear blue skies over one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
A virgin drop
This was a “virgin” drop. The area had never before been aerially poisoned. Birdlife was abundant.
- ‘The Roar’ was about to start – prime season for deer hunters in the area.
- Fishing in the world-renowned trout fisheries – Wilkin, Young and Makarora Rivers – was in full swing.
- Tourists were everywhere.
The stated purpose of the drop, on DoC warning and information signs in the area was that DoC has identified the Makarora and Wilkin Valleys as a priority area for control. Possum and rodent levels HAVE REACHED THRESHOLDS for predator control. (My bold emphasis.)
Lies all lies
This was completely UNTRUE ! Documents obtained under the Official Information Act, from the Department of Conservation (DoC) showed that rat numbers had been very low in the area over the last two years, including before the poison drop.
DoC’s target for this area (Recommending Report RM16.174 ) was “to reduce rat tracking tunnel rate to less than 5% after application”. Rat numbers were already much lower than the stated target, without any 1080 poison !
As far as possums are concerned, information obtained under OIA request showed NO possum monitoring had been DONE ! The stated aim ( Recommending Report RM16.174 ) was “to reduce possum numbers within the area to a residual trap catch (RTC ) index of 3 possums per 100 trap nights or less, immediately following the operation.”
So – rat numbers were at low levels, possum numbers were completely unknown – there was NO NEED FOR THIS AREA TO BE POISONED.
There never is, of course, but there was no case even by DoC’s own frames of reference.
The Graf Brothers movie tells the horrific story
This film covers the period 23 to 28th February 2017 and is a damning indictment on the carelessness with which these operations are carried out
~ baits outside drop zones and in rivers
~ tourists everywhere and unaware
~ workers not protected from toxic green 1080 dust
~ rescue helicopters, used for transporting accident and medical emergency victims, being used, in an ironic twist, to kill animals instead of save lives.
It also gives you some idea of the shocking cruelty perpetrated on animal life, and the destruction of people’s ability to gather wild food and to drink the water, or even swim in it, not to mention the cavalier disregard for people’s future health.
This is a must watch.
RESCUE HELICOPTERS USED TO POISON DEER – TOURISTS SPEAK OUT
MAKARORA 1080 DROP, MT ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK
The brand new film by the Graf Brothers is one of the hardest hitting to date. Please share far and wide!