Friday, March 12, 2010

More to a forest than a single species

The following paper points out that most New Zealand forest dwelling birds are susceptible to 1080 poison, as pointed out in the documentary Poisoning Paradise. This paper was released prior to DoC's establishment.

What is concerning is, that since the formation of the Department of Conservation, and taking into account the Government's interests with 1080, DoC have desperately tried to downplay the risks to the environment with their use of this poison.

We often hear about individual species projects like "Project Kaka", or the "Mohua" project in the Catlins. Another disturbing example is their single species "work" with Kea. We all know Kea are a curious parrot. We all know that they have been killed by 1080 poison.
We all know that you could drop rusty old tin cans out of choppers and Kea would eat them.
Yet, since the Fox incident where 7 of the 17 tagged birds were poisoned (which was leaked to the media, by the way), DoC have begun a new study to try to prove that Kea don't eat attractive food, laced with poison! Intriguing!

They say they are dropping the poison below the open top line (where the birds are safe) and where most of the public believe is Kea's only habitat. Wrong! Kea live in the forest as well, and feed off the forest floor. In one study, it was noted that 30% of the poisonous food is retained in the canopy - where birds like Kea and Kaka spend a lot of time.

What DoC must realise is that there are many other native species affected in every 1080 drop - not just Kaka, or not just Kea - both of which are known to eat carrot and cereal bait - and both have been found dead with residues of 1080 poison.

There's a complex ecosystem out there that is being adversely affected every time a 1080 food drop takes place. It's time to start looking at the forest as a whole, not just through a hole from the forest canopy.



Protection Forestry Division, Forest Research Institute,
N.Z. Forest Service, P.O. Box 31-011, Christchurch

SUMMARY: A consideration of the composition of bird diets, and the list of bird species
found deadl indicates that most New Zealand land bird species risk being killed by feeding
directly on baits poisoned with Compound 1080 or by eating poisoned prey. Theoretically,
if a population of a species is heavily reduced, its ability, or inability, to recover can be
predicted from a consideration of its reproductive and dispersal capacities. Species with poor
reproductive potential and poor dispersal have a high risk of non-recovery, e.g., the three
species of kiwi, the takahe, kakapo, laughing owl, bush wren, rock wren, fernbird,
yellowhead, stitchbird, saddleback, kokako, and New Zealand thrush. Species with either poor
reproduction or poor dispersal are medium risk species, e.g., the New Zealand falcon, weka,
New Zealand pigeon, kaka, kea, the three species of parakeets, the morepork, rifleman, brown
creeper, whitehead, and robin. Species with good reproductive and good dispersal capacities
are low risk species, e.g., the Australasian harrier, pukeko, kingfisher, welcome swallow, New
Zealand pipit, grey warbler, fantail, tit, silvereye, bellbird, and tui. The implications of this
classification are discussed in relation to forest management practice.


  1. You're now quoting the same Dr E Spurr whose research on invertebrates the W-OKs decreed wasn't any good because he wasn't an entomologist or some such tripe? hmmm. that they're not population biologists with extensive experience of NZ ecosystems and conducting field-based research seems to have been overlooked.

    really clyde. you need to talk to your selected scientists more, check for consistency and stuff.

  2. "Aerial Monofluoroacetate in NZ Forests" Q $ P Whiting OKeefe

    'It is important to note that not all of the research on aerial 1080 is obviously biased. There are several
    authors whom we have cited and who appear not to be biased in reporting their results; among these are
    Bellingham, et al, Innes and Barker, Weaver, Lloyd and McQueen, and Meads. '

    click on the you tube link and lets see what Mr Innes has to say....

  3. if you get 'an error occured ' notice just click again and you'll get thru!!

    kia kaha


  4. hi Clyde
    over your last few posts you've linked to the DoC critique on Poisoning Paradise and to Pat OKeefe. On your comments thread you've got Ian Gill from DoC and a number of species recovery enthusiasts ... if you were serious about discussing 1080 why not bring those strands together in a way that was constructive and found common ground to build on??

  5. wow...check out the kiwi vs possum on that night camera footage. and the film of the rats, possums and stoats eating baby birds alive on the Innes interview is amazing. and horrendous. obscene cruelty anyone?

  6. People know that aerial drops of 1080 poison involve risks. Some people believe the risks to wildlife and people are worth it and others don't. I personally don't think the risks are worth it and I don't believe it's right to kill off a lot of other animals in the attempt to control others. Here are the recent opinions of some scientists.

    Professor Charles Eason, Wildlife Management, Lincoln University, comments:
    “The 1080 debate has become more polarised since the ERMA reassessment in 2007 and expenditure to meet increased compliance and consultation requirements continues to increase.

    Research on biocontrol of vertebrate pests has been an important and major focus for investment for more than 20 years in both New Zealand and Australia.

    “Despite considerable commitment, effort and initiatives there is a gap between conventional poisons and the requirements of modern biocontrol that needs to be filled. More effective, safer alternatives to 1080 for the control of possums, predators, rodents and rabbits are required now to reduce over reliance on 1080 and provide greater flexibility.

    “With continued focused research effort the next 1-6 years will see changes as improved, increasingly “ecofriendly,” toxin products become available and additional products with novel active ingredients targeting possums and other major pests are delivered.”

    Wildlife Ecology Professor Doug Armstrong, Massey University, comments:

    “The frequency, intensity and method of 1080 application is clearly important. Anecdotal evidence (and some data) indicates that reduction in possum density allows rat density to increase if rats aren’t also controlled effectively. It may therefore be possible that 1080 applications can actually increase the rate of predation of rats on native species if operations control possums effectively but not rats. It is therefore important that all 1080 operations are not lumped together.

    “My impression is that the research is fairly limited given the importance of the issue."

    Dr Sean Weaver, senior lecturer of the Environmental Studies Programme, Victoria University, comments:

    “I think 1080 is an important tool in native wildlife management but I am not convinced that the management and regulation of 1080 is the product of a comprehensive assessment of the risks associated with the use of this toxin – including risks to non-target indigenous wildlife.”

    They are all scientists. All have said positive and negative things about 1080. I guess this just shows that there is still a lot of uncertainty around it, and we are still killing thousands of untargeted animals with it, even after 20 years of research. I don't think that should be acceptable to New Zealand society.