Click here THE MAYOR WHO DECLARED WAR to read the Sunday Star Times full, 2 page story in yesterday's paper.
10 days ago, 60,000 hectares of forestry, bordering lake Taupo, were aerially applied with compound 1080 poison.
Steve, myself and Taupo mayor Rick Cooper, yesterday visited one of the forests.
The question the Mayor was asking was - Why was the use of aircraft required to indiscriminately spread the deadly toxin across the forests? - Their water runoff flows into Lake Taupo! The terrain is flat, to rolling, and is comprehensively dissected with
roads and tracks. Mr Cooper believes the forestry should have been managed by using professional ground based trappers, hunters, and the use of bait stations.
It was only about 3 years ago that the forestry was aerially poisoned.
During the 6 hours we spent in the block, we found only 1 dead possum.
It is common for us to find more non-target species than target (possums and rats), in areas poisoned with 1080.
Time was spent both driving the roads, and searching in the pine blocks.
Two months ago, when visiting the block, several deer were seen, and the sign of deer throughout the area, was common.
However, after comprehensively searching and driving the block yesterday, not a single fresh sign of deer was seen, not even foot prints.
This suggests the Sika deer living in the area have been poisoned.
5 dead rabbits were found. They had been scavenged, probably by hawks or falcon, given that the drop is meant to have killed any rats. No dead rats were found.
Although the drop took place 10 days earlier, the baits were in good order, and were still laying, clearly visible and intact, in the forest, and on the roads and tracks.
Apart from the 1 dead possum, we also found 5 rabbits - a favourite food source for hawks and falcons - which had been scavenged. 1080 causes secondary poisoning in feeders up the food chain. To allow our native bird life to be lethally, and sub-lethally poisoned, without a second thought for their welfare, is not only
grossly ignorant, but also a breach of the Animal Welfare, and Wildlife acts!
However, ignorance is a key defence for the users and supporters of 1080.
Aside from the target species, we also found 7 dead birds.
Although finches are introduced passerines, they have similar feeding habits to some of our native and endemic passerines, and these deaths only reinforce scientific studies that have shown large numbers of native birds are poisoned in aerial operations.
1 endemic Kereru (Wood Pigeon) was also found, and It had been partly scavenged. It is common for birds, but not possums (apart from areas where kea, weka or pukeko are present), to be scavenged after they have been killed by 1080. Sometimes only a pile of feathers is all that authenticates their pre-poison existence.
In the past, Kiwi have been found dead after poisoning operations, but their deaths are often dismissed by DoC as caused by predation (rather than the possibility that they have been predated on while dying, or scavenged when killed by poisoning), so are, conveniently, not tested.
The users of 1080 - DoC, AHB, and regional councils - continue to deliberately mislead the public over their use of this poison. These bureaucracies habitually inform the public that aerial drops only take place in difficult terrain, and across inaccessible areas.
We have travelled the country, visiting many drop zones, and in most cases, the drop areas can be managed with responsible, targeted, ground control - with ease.
We congratulate Taupo mayor Rick Cooper for his stance on the irresponsible use of aerially applied 1080 poison in the Taupo district, and raising the issue of what drives this industry.
By advocating the abolition of this anti-Kiwi method of animal control - he is a true patriot!