“When I worked for DOC the bio control people were well aware 1080 causes rat plagues.” Former DoC Wanaka employee David Bunn
Rat numbers have tripled after a poison drop
By Carol Sawyer
She says the October 2017 1080 drop in the Lower and Upper Hollyford Valleys in Fiordland, has been an unmitigated disaster.
The area had never been 1080 poisoned before.
For many years, there has been a volunteer trapping programme in place around Gunn’s Camp. Ninety-eight traps are set along approximately 20 kms of the Hollyford Road, back into the bush a bit, from Marian Corner to Humboldt Creek and for a couple of kilometres beyond the end of the road.
For years, these traps have averaged a total of 6 to 12 rats every three weeks, all up.
After the 1080 drop, the next couple of trap clearances yielded very little. This is what one would expect immediately after an aerial 1080 drop.
However, three weeks ago, 67 traps yielded TWENTY rats. This time last year, before the poisoning, only 8 rats were cleared from the whole 98 traps.
1080 poison causes rat plagues – an initial drop in numbers followed a few months later by a plague. DoC know this.
These latest figures are on the DoC files, but they will probably not release them to the general public.
1080 – devastation for birds, deer and trout
BIRDS : Gunn’s camp in the Hollyford was a Kaka haven. Twenty to forty Kaka were regularly seen there, and as many as fifty were counted on one relatively recent occasion.
Moreporks abounded. One Morepork ( Ruru ) used to sit behind a generator shed there, and when the generator was turned off every night it then became very vocal.
It was a loved ‘character’ of this special place.
There has not been a Morepork or a Kaka seen or heard since the 1080 drop. (The “generator” Morepork was obviously killed by the poison.)
Fantail numbers have also taken a major dive, as the insect population has, of course, decreased.
DEER: A local helicopter company has had reports recently, from hunters it transports into hunting areas that deer numbers are ‘low to non-existent’ since the drop.
TROUT: It is reported that a big pond in the Hollyford River, above Gunn’s Camp, which always had trout, now has none.
Rats set to keep proliferating
The rat plague that is to be expected after a 1080 drop, of triple and even quadruple previous rat numbers, (not that the Dept of Conservation will publicly admit to this), has started.
In early March, 2018, the traps were cleared and contained 32 rats.
Interestingly, some of the traps had two rats in them, which is apparently unusual.
The tally 3 weeks later was 24 rats. That equates to 54 rats in a period of 6 weeks, whereas prior to the drop one could have expected, at the most,12 to 24 rats to be caught in that time.
Rats have NEVER been caught in these numbers before in this area!
Add to this the fact that the rats being caught recently are all young rats and this means that a veritable rat plague is on its way, and by the time the anniversary of this virgin 1080 drop comes around this October, a rat plague is what people in the area will be witnessing!