1080 myths dispelled

Wilderness magazine says it’s time to end the 1080 debate once and for all:

Opponents to the aerial use of 1080 should stop scaremongering and start thinking of better alternatives, say leading independent experts.

The experts, interviewed in the February issue of Wilderness magazine, have categorically dispelled many of the myths surrounding use of the poison. These myths include the idea that it kills kiwi, gets into our water supplies, threatens native bird populations and is no more effective than trapping and hunting.

Editor of Wilderness Alistair Hall believes it’s vital to stamp out rumours especially at a time when beech mast threatens many of the country’s rarest species. DOC’s preparing to launch a 1080 attack on rats, mice and stoats after predictions a bumper summer of beech flowering will lead to a huge increase of the predators later in the year.

“It’s time to get a few things straight,” said Hall. “1080 has never killed a kiwi, it has never been found in a drinking water supply and only one person has ever been killed by the poison – and that was in the 1960s.

“It’s not us who are saying this, it’s every expert we’ve spoken to. We made sure we picked people who are independent, rather than those who represent one side of the argument. The experts were unanimous in saying there’s currently no viable alternative when it comes to controlling pests on a large scale and that, without 1080, many of our native species would only exist on off-shore islands and intensively protected pockets on the mainland.”

Wilderness spoke to Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr James Ross, senior lecturer in wildlife management at Lincoln University, and Penny Fisher from Landcare Research.

Each expert was presented with 10 commonly held beliefs and asked to state whether they’re true or not based on what is currently known about the toxin.
“It’s fascinating to read what they have to say,” said Hall. “I often hear the argument that there hasn’t been enough research conducted on 1080 to determine whether it’s safe or not. In actual fact, there’s been continuous research since the 1950s.

“It’s so important to get this message across. As a tramping community we want to hear and see native birds and plants when we head into the backcountry. It’s clear to us, having spoken to those in the know, that using 1080 is the only way to ensure we can continue to do this.”

Full interviews with the experts are in the February issue of Wilderness magazine, available in shops from today and online here.

Animals targeted by 1080 endanger native flora and fauna they also carry TB which is a risk to animal and human health.

Where alternatives to 1080 can be used they are. But in many areas, including those of dense bush, there is no viable alternative to it.

7 Responses to 1080 myths dispelled

  1. Paranormal says:

    There’s a lot of us non-experts that regularly visit the same bush areas to find the devastation that follows a 1080 drop. The bush goes silent when previously it was alive with bird life.

    Talking to a local kaumatua that operates guided bush walks would also be illuminating for the Wilderness magazine. What he notices after a 1080 drop would be educational for these experts.

    It’s interesting we didn’t have the same possum problem when there was a bounty on possums and trapping was a good earner.

  2. Todd says:

    Ive been in bush a year after 1080 was dropped and it was deafening with birdlife. The locals said it hadn’t been that way for decades & they were seeing species they thought were long gone from the area.
    I’d agree though, that a bounty to encourage trapping is also a good scheme

  3. George says:

    Many years back I guided on the glaciers. The very steep valley flanks had possums that were inaccessible to ground trapping and the bush was taking a hiding. Ariel 1080 was the answer as cyanide was useless because of high rainfall. After the drops we started seeing dead birds on the ice after they had been washed out from the flanks. DoC reasoned it was from other causes as it was weeks after, but the ice is just a cold conveyor belt that delays corruption.

    Here’s a study project for an eco-academic. Find a 1080 target area and record the morepork calls before and after a drop. They’re territorial. You’ll be listening to blank tape within a week.

    Landcare Research is a booming bureaucracy and is biased in it’s views.


  4. Gravedodger says:

    Paranormal, your anecdotal assertions are completely at odds with my experience and involvement.
    Could you elaborate as to where and when as with the color and bait targetting I am familiar with, such mass killing under colateral damage is very rare.

    However it is quite widely understood that such associated deaths are inflated to oppose the legitimate killing of the target species, by hunters dismayed that a kill program has diminished numbers leading to greater required efforrt to get a success in a hunt.

    My closest involvement with a targeted program against possums in mainly open grassland with associated exotic forest and native bush areas, resulted in a significant regrowth of native bush and a meassurable increase in all birdlife within a year of the campaign and even more impressive an almost total annihilation of possums that was still measurably apparent 5 years later.

  5. Paranormal says:

    GD my stomping ground is the Kaimanawas and Kawekas. I’ve been going in there for nearly 30 years. Shortly before a drop back in the late 90’s the bird life was fantastic. Shortly after the drop the bush was dead, and it doesn’t seemed to have recovered to the mid 90’s level of birdlife in spite of repeated 1080 drops. On that trip I even saw a stoat run across Clement Mill road in daylight.

    Then there is other anecdotal evidence that is not taken into account. The disappearance of trout from the feeder streams after a drop for example. It couldbe many things but it just seems too coincidental not to be linked to 1080.

  6. Roger Barton says:

    My stomping ground is a farm on the foothills of the Tararuas.
    Four rounds of 1080 since 1995 have had a profound effect on opossum numbers. We struggle to find any to night shoot whereas on the worst nights historically we could hit 130 ( when Lombardi poplars were in full leaf bud).
    Conversely our bird numbers have rocketed upwards. In particular fan tails, tuis and (contrary to Paranomals experience) morepork numbers. We ve recently been entertained by some youngsters in the garden in the early evening. We are also seeing the occasional Bellbird which is unusual on this side of the Tararuas. The Wellington region, including Wairarapa, used to have 360 herds on TB movement control. Last time I enquired this was at 1 herd. This one herd is the research herd at Wallaceville which needs infected cattle in quarantine conditions to operate. So you could argue that we are at nil. Big thumbs up for the whole programme and the work of various agencies and individuals. Conservation has become a profound winner from opossum control activity whether it be 1080 or other control mechanisms.

  7. farmerbraun says:

    All of our hopes are pinned on the programme to breed Trojan female possums . . . females that produce predominantly male possums who then pass on the genes. This is the only way to achieve complete eradication.
    And then we can start on the stoats . . . and the rats . . . and the . . .

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