DOC Planning Poison Drop in Kahurangi

Submitted by Paul Murray on Thu, 12/11/2009 - 12:02pm

KAKA Press Release

Department of Conservation plans to drop 1080 poison on 10,000 hectares in the Oparara Basin region of the Kahurangi National Park raise disturbing issues in regard to public justification for the operation and their cavalier use of the toxin.

In August 2008, the Animal Health Board poisoned much of the same region in a 54,000-hectare aerial drop. The consent conditions of that operation included a stipulation for environmental reasons that the Board cannot undertake aerial 1080 drops in the same area for 2 to 3 years.

DOC’s operation demonstrates that there is in fact no effective control over the number and frequency of aerial operations, which makes a mockery of the conditions imposed on the AHB and the call by the Environmental Risk Management Authority in 2007 for restraint in the use of 1080.

DOC has stated that the AHB targeted possums, whereas DOC is “targeting rats and through them stoats”. This statement seems to imply that rats and possums can distinguish between “possum” or “rat” baits. In reality, possums, rats, birds, deer, etc. make no such distinction. With reckless disregard for signs and other indicators such as bait size, they simply eat the baits – then die.

DOC’s “rat plague” justification for the drop belies a Landcare research report and some of DOC’s own studies. These show clearly that rat populations recover rapidly after a 1080 drop––in some cases rising well above pre-drop levels.

To suggest that stoats are being seriously targeted as a by-kill of rat operations is disingenuous, as DOC well knows, given the feeding habits of stoats – just more DOC spin and nonsense.

Community action group Karameans Advocating Kahurangi Action (KAKA) is outraged by DOC’s plans to indiscriminately poison vast areas of the Kahurangi National Park and other areas of the West Coast (over 55,000 hectares in total between June and the end of November) in the name of “conservation”. KAKA is also appalled by DOC’s misleading public statements and tenuous “justification” for such operations.

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