Threats to DOC staff beyond appalling

The Department of Conservation is appalled at threats to its staff:

The Department of Conservation (DOC) confirms that it has asked New Zealand Police to investigate after receiving a second threatening letter from an anti-1080 protestor in Taranaki.

The aggressive letter intensifies threats against DOC staff and claims more sika deer will be released unless DOC stops its use of 1080 to control predators.

Appalled would be a mild reaction to these very serious threats.

It follows an anonymous letter in October which said sika deer were being released in Taranaki forests in retaliation for 1080 operations.

The Director General of Conservation, Lou Sanson says DOC will not be speculating on who wrote the letter or why, as it is now a matter for the police to investigate.

“However these threats to DOC staff are taken very seriously and will not be tolerated. I am appalled that someone would threaten our staff in this way as they are trying to go about their daily work to protect our native species and wildlife.”

“DOC is responsible for managing more than a third of New Zealand’s land area and it’s important our staff are able to get on with their job of protecting conservation areas without fear of being harmed or harrassed,” Mr Sanson says.

DOC has put measures in place to protect staff and contractors, including asking staff to be more vigilant as they go about their daily work.

Overall the level of 1080 protest has been relatively low this year and most have protested lawfully. “Apart from a few isolated cases, the feedback we get is that most New Zealanders strongly support DOC’s work to protect our native species and habitats and understand why we need to use 1080 as part of our war against predators,” Mr Sanson says.

1080 isn’t perfect but in some areas it’s not only the best, it’s the only way to kill introduced animals that prey on native birds, destroy bush and carry disease which can spread to farm animals and people.

Not everyone is convinced by the science and they are free to protest against 1080 lawfully.

Going beyond lawful protest to threats against public servants is beyond appalling.

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