Friday, February 5, 2010


It's true! 50 tons of attractive, cereal food has been approved to be dropped into the Waitutu Valley, Fiordland. DoC are holding hands with Environment Southland, for this project.
The drop is being undertaken to protect Mistletoe, and Kaka, from increasing possum numbers - so they tell us! Just keep in mind that possums have only one young per year - and on rare occassions - twins. They do not breed like rabbits. Their populations don't, and can't, explode.

The drop will take place this winter, when the animals and birds are more hungry. It's a bit like throwing lollies in front of a toddler, really. Any animal, bird, insect, or aquatic organism is going to gobble this food up.
So what's the problem? Well, unfortunately for the wildlife, the food will be laced with the deadly pesticide, 1080. 1080 has no taste, it has no smell, and has no antidote.
And just to make sure the wildlife "takes the bait", there will most likely be a pre-feed drop. The pre-feed drop is undertaken about a week before the real thing, to gain the confidence of the forest creatures. This dummy run, bait drop, includes no poison. It's about a week later that the "Mistletoe-Kaka saving" poisonous food is offered.

This DoC sponsored food-poison drop - into one of the most pristine, natural parts of the world - is arrogant, ignorant, and ecocide. It's a criminal offence, in my opinion, plain and simple.
Taking into account that there is not (even after 17 years of trying) a single, credible, scientific study that shows a net population benefit to any native species through the use of aerial 1080 poison - not one - they press on!

It is estimated this operation will cost $600,000, and cover 25,000 hectares.
It is known that a single ground operator, trapping and using cyanide (a non secondary poison), can manage 4000 hectares, per year.
The $600,000 set aside for this operation could employ 24 ground operators, paid $25,000 each as a retainer, for 1 year, managing only 1000 hectares each - and what's more, these ground operator guys target only possums, mustilids, and rats - not the whole ecosystem!!!

It has to stop, and I for one, certainly hope this drop will not take place, and further more, I would like to know that the irresponsible, crazy pratice of aerial poisoning operations is banned before this lunacy comes to fruition in Fiordland. If you're opposed to this planned poison assault on Fiordland, and would like to voice your opinion, please visit, and follow the links to the government ministers, and let them know your opinions. Environment Southland ticked this project off, their web address is It's also worth visiting, and start educating them about the viable alternative - ground control.


  1. show me the source of your claims that a single operator can reduce tracking densities of rats and stoats to below 5% over an entire 4000 hectare block!!!

  2. He can't cause in classic Graff style he's plucking figures out of his ass.

    The estimated cost of ground control for the proposed 25,000 hectare control area was
    $355.88/ha, totalling $897,078. The cost of aerial control was $22.14/ha, totalling
    $553,478 for the proposed control area.
    Cost IS NOT the only consideration. Ground control would typically occur over summer, rather during than the colder period just before the bird breeding season. Also ground control would take at least three months, compared with the few days required for aerial control and based on experience, ground control achieved poorer results over large areas, especially with the initial knockdown
    (approximately 85% reduction, compared with more than 92% reduction by aerial control, on average).

  3. Its proven that rat numbers increse, greatly, when 1080 is used. (Landcare reasearch)It is also proven that stoats change there diet from rats, to birds, when 1080 is used. (Murphy) This happens because in the first instance, the rats are killed off, but they quickly multiple, well beyond what they do when 1080 isn't used. So ground control would take 3 months, great! I think you mean $35 per hectare, by the way. Of course, that estimate is at the high end. Ground control is a much more sensible option I would think, rather than blanketing the forest with poison. And taking into account that the poisoning operations cost much more than the quoted figure, due to the science, eployment and the poison advecacy work needed to keep it propped up. AHB have proven that ground control works, as have many proffessional trappers around the country. You seem to be opposed to ground control. Are you sure you two DoC guys haven't got a vested interest in this poison?

  4. I'm not DoC. I am just some guy who made a personal decision to dedicate as much unpaid time and energy as I could afford to working on species conservation.
    Is it true that according to OKeefe( the old American scientist guy in your movie) rats don't predate native birds because they have had 700 years evolve into co-existing with predators???. Totally missing the point that kiore (the Pacific rat) aren't the problem, its the European introduced Norway rat and the ship rat rattus rattus who are extincting our repltiles and native bird species. Maybe your American scientist thinks that stoats don't predate birds for the same reason?
    please explain

  5. BCT maybe you should get your figures right before you publish them, $35.588 * 25,000 = $889,700, maybe you are the one plucking figures out of you feathered behind. Does the Kiore make a concious decision not to eat native birds and eggs....pretty smart just like your calculations. If you want a negative impact on native birds keep poisoning!

  6. Hi Birdscantalk. I congratulate you on the effort you make for New Zealand's wildlife, you are certainly genuine in your intentions. In regard to Dr. Quinn Whiting Okeefe - he has never said, in any part of our documentary, anything about rats evolving, etc. The only time he mentions rats, as far as I can recall, is when refering to the Landcare Research study that shows rat populations increase after successful aerial 1080 operations - in fact, almost 3 times the rat numbers, after 18 months, compared to the area that had no pest control whatsoever. Cheers, Clyde Graf.

  7. can you reference the Landcare study that shows tripling of rat densities as a result of 1080 treatment?

    Also the Murphy study you refer to never once talks about 1080 (do you actually read the papers you refer to?) because it was a study analysing the diet of stoats at the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary where predator control was attempted using 3000 Fenn traps. As a result the significant secondary by-kill on mustelids was not considered.
    Two interesting points : due to the remarkable difficulty in controlling stoats even this trap dense strategy failed to save the Okarito brown kiwi ‘Rowi’ chicks in the 2000/2001 season. Also this quote “This diet shift by stoats following a reduction in
    the availability of their major prey is not normally seen
    in beech forests where mice are the main mammal prey”