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Thread: Poisoning in NZ

  1. #1

    Poisoning in NZ

    Just got back from a couple of weeks in NZ. No hunting unfortunately, but spoke with many people who did hunt and quite a few from the DoE as we toured the various parks.

    The hot topic seemed to be use of a poison called 1080 out there to control the rats, stoats and possums which are mullering the bird population between them. The pellets are broadcast across the bush by helicopter.

    Their problem is that these vermin are taking ground and tree nesting birds, including the Kiwi. Bird numbers are dropping quickly and vermin numbers are growing at an equivalent pace. The balance is all adrift.

    The big problem they are now faced with is that the 1080 is causing secondary poisoning to dogs and raptors - mainly Harrier Hawks. The RSPB equivalent out there is up in arms as well as most of the dog owners - unsurprisingly. Lots of "BAN 1080" signs displayed on the road side and in gardens.

    They are experimenting with tunnel trapping in some areas. One guy I spoke to from the DoE said that he had laid 180 tunnels without traps but with tracers in them. After just 2 weeks 95% had stoat tracks through them. It was over an area of just 100 acres.

    When I first heard what they were up to I was pretty horrified. Imagine doing that in the UK.

    But as you drove up through South Island and saw the scale of the country and the forests you quickly realised that trapping just wasn't an option. The place is too big and they do not have estates with keepers like we do to manage it, it's a small DoE workforce who are responsible for looking after it all.

    So their option is either to let nature run its course and loose much of their bird population, including their beloved Kiwi, or try to slow it down with something as drastic as 1080. The devil or the dark blue sea.

    A very interesting problem to have to deal with.
    So much to learn and so little time left

  2. #2
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    The Graf Boys have been making noise about this for some years: TV Wild :: Home

    Watch their videos and you get the sense of an environmental disaster in the making.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    The Graf Boys have been making noise about this for some years: TV Wild :: Home

    Watch their videos and you get the sense of an environmental disaster in the making.
    They are big voices in this ecocide issue.
    The poison is killing everything from deer & pigs to trout, eels & local bird life, not just the raptors but all species, inc pets & livestock, even the maggots that feed on the carcasses are being killed, secondary poisoning from contaminated water & milk is now concern as the volume of 1080 already in the system is huge, the misconception is that they drop only poisoned meat, but in fact it is pellets meat and carrots.

    The latest comments that I have read state that there have been big drops in Deer & pig numbers, and these are not the actual targeted vermin! also by some accounts the DOC have been paying out vast compensations to the farmers most affected and covering themselves by issuing these payments in return for non disclosure and false invoicing!

  4. #4
    It's a very tricky delicate sort of situation.

    On 1 side i think it's great that the NZ DoC take such a strong stand against invasive species, wish this country looked after its native wildlife so well

    But on the other wholesale dropping of poison is wrong

    I have no idea wot the answer is but bear in mind that almost every mammal is introduced and invasive to NZ including ALL deer rabbits, pigs etc.
    The sheer size and remoteness means trapping would be very hard if not impossible to be truely effective, plus some of there trapping techniques leaves a lot to be desired, if i set any fenn/tunnel traps like that i would have got my arse kicked off the head keeper.
    Could see some of the DoC's Cania? or 2000's and the sun was reflecting of them like a mirror plus af ew other aspects of how they were set (triggers very high). Would take a very stupid stoat to walk into 1 of those. If they learned/employed some old hill grouse keeper i'm sure they could learn an awful lot to make there traps far more effective.


    I understand why the hunters hate DoC and 1080 as much, my mates that hunt out there really hate DoC with a passion, but i cannae really see any other way round it.

    For UK context would be like NE/SNH trying to eridicate munties or sika to stop the destroying native habitats and while the poisoning is very extreme even the deer/pigs which are bye kills are still non natives and causing harm.
    Think still paying hunters to shoot a leave where they fall thar and chamois on the hills to bring populations down

  5. #5
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by countrryboy View Post
    For UK context would be like NE/SNH trying to eridicate munties or sika to stop the destroying native habitats and while the poisoning is very extreme even the deer/pigs which are bye kills are still non natives and causing harm.
    Not quite.

    A better analogy would be like NE/SNH using 1080 to try to eradicate grey squirrels and then claiming that...

    ....it was okay for the resulting fallow, sika, muntjac and CWD to die because they were non-native species and deer are becoming a serious pest anyway

    ....and that the blue tits and robins that were killed as a by-product of 1080 were prolific breeders and would hopefully soon recover

    ....and that you shouldn't have let your dog eat the infected carcasses of 1080-targeted species and then die after running, howling, vomiting, urinating and defecating "inappropriately"

    ....and that yes, it was unfortunate that bats would die after eating insects poisoned by 1080, but more than likely they would do okay in the future as well

    ....and that some of our birds of prey would die, but that their improved nesting success by removing grey squirrels would probably more than make up the difference

    Of course first of all NE/SNH would have to get 1080 regulated in the United Kingdom so that we could join that long list of...er...6 other countries around the world that allow its use.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  6. #6
    Aye ur quiite right with most of ur comparisions. But is that a price worth paying?

    But if the alternative is that many of ur native species will slowly be wiped out. Look at the birds populations in this country. Most wader species (but esp Lapwing, Oyster catcher and Whoop) are now classed as upland birds where 30 years ago they were nationwide on almost ALL farmland

    So wot's ur suggestion just leave nature to get own with it and spoil NZ's natural flora and fuana. Working so well in this country and most of these predators have evolved with the prey species so have some sort of'awareness. Unlike NZ where was almost NO natural nest predation so no natural nest persavtion has evolved as didnae need too
    NZ hasnae really had many/any introduced species until 200 odd years ago unlike UK

    Nz and UK are very different countries in size and scale

    Not saying i agree with it but i dinae see any real alternative way of managing a country like NZ's wilderness without using poison of some type.
    IN some ways i admire their no nonsense way with dealing with problem preadotors/species. Could do with more of that atatuide here (althou not 1080)

  7. #7
    On the farms I am controlling possums on at the moment, they are running large numbers of traps for stoats and rats, we are controlling possum and cats with leg hold traps and shooting, they are also using 1080 but not by airdrop, but by placing in in holders on the tree trunks that only possums can get at.

  8. #8
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by countrryboy View Post
    Aye ur quiite right with most of ur comparisions. But is that a price worth paying?

    But if the alternative is that many of ur native species will slowly be wiped out. Look at the birds populations in this country. Most wader species (but esp Lapwing, Oyster catcher and Whoop) are now classed as upland birds where 30 years ago they were nationwide on almost ALL farmland

    So wot's ur suggestion just leave nature to get own with it and spoil NZ's natural flora and fuana. Working so well in this country and most of these predators have evolved with the prey species so have some sort of'awareness. Unlike NZ where was almost NO natural nest predation so no natural nest persavtion has evolved as didnae need too
    NZ hasnae really had many/any introduced species until 200 odd years ago unlike UK

    Nz and UK are very different countries in size and scale

    Not saying i agree with it but i dinae see any real alternative way of managing a country like NZ's wilderness without using poison of some type.
    IN some ways i admire their no nonsense way with dealing with problem preadotors/species. Could do with more of that atatuide here (althou not 1080)
    As you say, the UK and NZ are completely different so need different approaches. We can't even organise an effective badger cull!!

    I don't question the need to control predator mammal species such as possum and rats in a land where none existed before the arrival of Western colonisation, and poison can doubtless be very effective, but what I struggle with is the use of a non-selective toxin delivered in an inefficient, non-targeted, way.

    It may well be cost-effective, but remember that the government itself admits that "at present there is no antidote for 1080 in the event of accidental poisoning of people, dogs or livestock" (5.7 Effects on domestic animals: Outcomes of 1080 use
    ). Is that a price worth paying? In a sparsely populated country perhaps the answer is yes, but after so many scares in the past (anyone remember DDT?) we know that the long-term costs may take some time to appear.

    None of this exactly sits well with a country that markets itself as "100% Pure New Zealand".
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Taff View Post
    On the farms I am controlling possums on at the moment, they are running large numbers of traps for stoats and rats, we are controlling possum and cats with leg hold traps and shooting, they are also using 1080 but not by airdrop, but by placing in in holders on the tree trunks that only possums can get at.
    Good to hear your straight into it, are you 'plucking Possums' for your new sleeping bag? I have been told its the very best thing, once you get the smell out..

  10. #10
    Hi Rick it's $110/kilo, males smell a bit like foxes, but the fur seems neutral , went to a new farm the weekend full of turkeys, only hunt them without a R in the month, so when my bow arrives it's all systems go.

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