DOC admits to substantial 1080 by-kill

Source/ Facebook

Source/ Facebook

Simply put, DOC rationalise continued 1080 use on the basis that it kills more pests than it does non-target species, and the resulting environment then encourages those species to recover ‘faster’.

New Zealand’s biggest pest poisoning programme killed 95 per cent of the rats it went after and more evidence shows forests are better off after 1080 drops, scientists say.

The New Zealand Ecological Society 2015 Conference is being held at the University of Canterbury this week and one focus is on the use and effects of 1080, or sodium fluoroacetate.

The toxin has been widely used for pest control in New Zealand since the 1950s – possums are a target because they spread tuberculosis – but critics say it kills more than just pests.

Last year the Department of Conservation carried out its largest poisoning operation, largely 1080 drops over 680,000 hectares, in response to a one-in-15-year beech mast season which would have fuelled a pest population explosion.

It said the $21 million operation crashed numbers of rats, possums and stoats – raising hopes native bird extinctions can be held off.

“The 1080 we used knocked the rats for six. Overall we killed something like 95 per cent of the rats,” DOC scientist Graeme Elliott told reporters ahead of the conference.

There were some areas which were less effective, but a disaster was still avoided.

The number of stoats – which eat the poisoned rats and mice – were also down about 85 per cent.

DOC had monitored 24 South Island robin in the Marlborough Sounds and the birds all survived. Their nesting success increased from 7 per cent to nearly 50 per cent.

It was a similar story with riflemen, which have been killed during 1080 drops in past.

At least we’re past the point where the claim that 1080 only kills target species is no longer defended by DOC.  They now clearly admit to a substantial by-kill of other species also.   But, they hope, this is less severe than letting nature take care of itself.

I have been in forests before and after 1080 drops, and the difference is as gut wrenching as it is inescapable:  forests are decimated from most bird and mammal life, and it takes a number of years for the species that this is “protecting” to re-establish itself.

 

– Dave Williams, NZN via Yahoo!


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