Why we need 1080: DOC Speaks Up

15 Mar 2010

The Department of Conservation is spreading the word about 1080,
with the launch of a DVD and pamphlet about the critical need
for aerial 1080.

The DVD – 1080: Good News for Conservation – has several short film stories about the benefits of 1080. It has interviews with scientists and DOC rangers working in the front line to protect native species, including blue ducks (whio) in Tongariro National Park and yellowheads (mohua) in the Landsborough Valley near Mt Aspiring National Park.

Segments filmed at night show shocking scenes of possums, rats
and stoats attacking the nests of native birds, eating eggs and killing
chicks.

The parents are shown trying to fight off the predators but eventually fleeing. The success of 1080 in dramatically reducing predator numbers is shown, along with its importance in rugged and remote areas where ground-based control would be
prohibitively expensive.

Scientists answer criticisms of 1080, showing that 1080 breaks down rapidly in water and has no effect on fish, freshwater crayfish (koura) or invertebrates. One segment
shows changes in prebaiting in areas where kea live to reduce the possibility of kea eating 1080.

DOC’s 12-page booklet – Protecting our Native Wildlife – also illustrates
the importance of 1080, and reveals some of the research going into finding the best ways to control predators.

Some of the filmed stories are online: http://www.doc.govt.nz/
conservation/threats-and-impacts/animal-pests/methods-of-control/videos-about-1080/

Anti-1080 hype has spiked recently, with harassment of DOC staff in Thames over 1080, and claims by Taranaki weed contractors that they weren’t told about an aerial drop where they were working.

Coromandel area manager John Gaukrodger, who retired from his position in early March, was targeted in vitriolic online comments.

The comments were removed after complaints were made about them.

According to the Waikato Times, Waikato conservator Greg Martin said Mr Gaukrodger had previously been assaulted by an anti- 1080 campaigner.

"Our staff have been accosted in the street – verbal abuse, a bit of pushing and shoving," he said.

In Taranaki, weed sprayers claimed DOC did not tell them about a 1080 drop targeting possums and rats on Mt Taranaki.

But DOC says it has a phone log showing the sprayers were contacted two days earlier about the 1080 drop in late February.

DOC also rejected claims that the helicopter used in the operation overflew a nearby home. GPS navigation systems used during the operation confirm that the helicopter dropping 1080 baits stayed within the Egmont National Park boundary throughout the operation.