. . . Dr Wright says time is running out for native species on the mainland.
“There are three predators that are inflicting enormous damage on our native birds and plants – possums, rats, and stoats. The only way we can control them over large areas is to use 1080. We are lucky to have it.
“When I released my report two years ago I called for greater use of 1080 because I was extremely concerned about the future of kiwi and other native birds.
“Currently the Department of Conservation is spending more on research into 1080 and its alternatives than it is on actually using it.
“While I’m happy this research is being done, I would like to see more money being spent on frontline pest control.
“While I am heartened by the public support for a pest-free New Zealand there is no way that it could currently be achieved without 1080. I will continue to recommend its use is increased. “
Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says the PCE’s latest report reinforces Forest & Bird’s stance that 1080 remains the most cost effective way of controlling the three “key pests of possums, rats and stoats” over large areas.
“Pests are decimating our native forests and killing an estimated 25 million birds a year, pushing some of them towards extinction. We need to get on top of the pest situation if we want to reverse the decline of our native wildlife.
“We fully agree with the Commissioner in that aerial 1080 drops over large areas are the best way to do that,” he says.
“Other methods of pest control, like trapping and ground-based poison operations, are expensive, time-consuming, cover small areas, and often fail to get into the heart of the back country where it’s most needed. Aerial 1080 drops, at this stage, offer the most cost-effective way to tackle New Zealand’s pest problem,” Kevin Hackwell says.
Forest & Bird is disappointed that the Department of Conservation has not acted on the PCE’s key recommendation from the initial 2011 report to increase the use of aerial 1080 operations.
“DOC should move resources from the less effective ground-based control to the more effective use of aerial 1080. There’s no need for any more delay, we should be acting on the PCE’s recommendations now,” Kevin Hackwell says.
It is impossible to safeguard native birds when 1080 is dropped and it can kill them. But populations recover very quickly when their predators are killed.
Trapping and hunting animal pests works well in some places.
But in many areas 1080 is the best way to kill the pests which destroy native flora and pray on the fauna.
Some of these pests also carry TB which can spread to farm animals and people.