Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kiwi vs Poisons - More testing needed.

There is still no reliable evidence to show that kiwi are benefiting, at a population level, from the use of aerially applied 1080 poison on the mainland.
Kiwi may, however, benefit from pest control using targeted trapping, and targeted ground control operations.

The following excerpts are from a 3 year study that observed the effects of brodifacoum poison, through the use of BAIT STATIONS (not aerially applied poison), on kiwi...


"Kiwi chicks may be more vulnerable than adults to accidental poisoning if they have different physiology or behaviour; for instance, kiwi chicks are more liable to feed on novel food items (Tamsin Ward-Smith, Massey University, NZ, pers. comm.). With a short bill, chicks are restricted to feeding on surface-dwelling invertebrates and so may be more likely to come into contact with invertebrates feeding on baits that had fallen to the ground or been cached by rodents (rats or mice), and invertebrates feeding on possum and rodent carcasses on the ground. We had no evidence from our study to show that either rats or possums were killing kiwi chicks."

"We have shown that kiwi chicks are ingesting the toxin, even though the doses recorded are generally
below the levels affecting the physiology, behaviour or survival of the chicks concerned; however, one
chick had a higher level (0.18 mg kg-1) than the 0.12 mg kg-1 that was apparently fatal in a harrier
(Rammell et al. 1984)."

We now know (2010) that brodifacoum is terminating in kiwi chicks, eggs, and adult birds.
1080 bait looks the same, smells the same, and tastes the same as brodifacoum baits.
1080 is spread aerailly across New Zealand, whereas brodifacoum is only permitted in some areas on the mainland, in bait stations.
Therefore, aerially applied 1080 is far more accessible to kiwi, than brodifacoum presented in bait stations.

How is it that brodifacoum residues are found in kiwi, but 1080 is not (as we're told by the DoC), when the baits are practically the same, apart from the way they kill?

"If it is known that a species has eaten cereal-based baits containing brodifacoum, that information is included in this report to indicate that the species may eat cereal-based 1080 baits." 
( E.B. Spurr and R.G. Powlesland 1997)

Brown kiwi (Apteryx australis) Brown kiwi are known to have eaten cereal-based baits (Pierce & Montgomery 1992),"

Brodifacoum accumulates in the body, whereas, we're informed, that non fatal doses of 1080 is metabolised.
However, it would be reasonable to assume that the 1080 is still entering the birds foodchain, (because it is allot more available to kiwi in aerial drops, than bait station operations using brodifacoum) and they are consuming the poison, but perhaps it is less possible to detect the poison, simply because it ends up being metabolised. Or perhaps we're not testing the birds to determine if they contain 1080 residues?

The question is - what harm is being done to the birds that receive this sub-lethal dose?
We do know that 1080 is a male reproductive toxin.
Is it probable that the repeated use of 1080 in our forests (every 3 years, in many areas) is having a detrimental effect on these birds long term breeding ability? Yes.

Is it possible that the damage done by 1080 intoxication, that is then metabolised, still kills the bird, even weeks down the track, but the residues are no longer detectable? Or perhaps the birds that die in aerial drops aren't being tested for residues, their deaths simply being attributed to predation?

For example, 14 kiwi recently died at Mt Bruce, in the Wairarapa.
1 bird in March, and 13 birds between the 05 July and August 12.
2 types of poison have been used in over 1100 bait stations across the reserve. A first generation anticoagulant was used earlier in the year.
The death of the birds where put down to predation by 2 stoats. These 2 stoats covered 950  hectares in less than 4 weeks, and killed 2 juvenile, and 11 adult kiwi. (one of the birds to die earlier, was too decomposed to determine cause of death)
DoC tell us that kiwi can defend themselves from a predator after reaching about 1.5kg in size. (about 18 months of age) The majority of birds killed at Mt Bruce were adult birds.

Only 5 kiwi in the last 15 years have been tested for 1080 residues. Including those from Mt Bruce.
One in 1998, one in 2001, one in 2008, and 2 in 2010. (As of at 24th August 2010 (obtained under the Official Information Act - OIA request) It is not known if these 5 tested kiwi were from poison drop zones.

It seems unreasonable to assume that 1080 is not terminating in kiwi (as the public are told by DoC), when so few of the birds that die are being tested. Surely, in a country that drops so much poison, one could expect that ALL kiwi found dead, whether thought to be scavenged, or predated on, should be tested for residues simply to understand where this poison is ending up.
We often find birds scavenged in poison drop zones. This does not mean they were predated on - simply that they have been scavenged on AFTER dying from 1080 poisoning.
At the moment, it seems, that there is a resistance to wanting to test birds for poison residues, to ensure poison residues are not realised.


  1. Clyde, why didn't you tell the folks that 1080 boosted kiwi chick survival in Tongariro Forest from 12% to 57% following a 2006 DOC/AHB 1080 operation? Not only that, but kiwi are breeding quite happily in 1080 control areas. It might have also been more credible for you to have also mentioned that more than 200 kiwi have been radio tracked through 1080 operations without any loss other than one getting run over by a car. You can't get better monitoring data than that.

  2. I'm sorry Ian (Department of Conservation worker - DoC), I have no faith in any research funded by DoC. Why is it that only 5 kiwi have been tested for 1080, in the last 15 years, when 100's of kiwi have died in this period?

    Tongariro Forest is a dead zone. Word is, kiwi are removed before 1080 operations are undertaken, and replaced after the drop is completed. Why is it, that the DoC remove kiwi chicks from drops zones, and raise them in enclosures until the poisoning risks are reduced, when their environment is meant to be safe?

    Why don't you explain how 7 or 8 kiwi reportedly went missing in the Okarito region, after an aerial operation. We have heard first hand, from a work mate of the chopper pilot carrying the DoC staff, that they were desperately trying to locate the kiwi, and were in tears when they suspected they had been killed. Hear say? Yes. But we have heard numerous stories of kiwi being killed in aerial operations. Does it seem possible that some of these stories are true? Of course!

    The evidence suggests, Ian, that kiwi are taking up poison in areas where bait stations are used. They will be taking up greater quantities of poison in aerial operations. How could it not be so, when the baits are presented in the same way? The only advantage, with using brodifacoum pioson for proving that the birds are up-taking poison is, that brodifacoum is accumulative. It is retained in their bodies, so is easier to prove poison up-take.

    Your poisoning operations aren't working. The proof is in the forests, not in bias, poison pushing "studies".

    Please name the forests that show all species of resident birds, that are, according to DoC, exploding in populations. Because you have been dropping these poisons for the last 20 years, and there is not a single forest that shows a benefit at ecosystem level, through the use of aerial 1080 poison!

  3. Clyde - you seem to be willing to accept the results of DOC funded research if you think it suits your anti-1080 vendetta. However, our pest and predator control programmes are working very well, the Maruia, Landsborough and Otira being good examples, just to name a few. Having a sample of more than 200 radio tracked kiwi is very robust science. Having results that show improvement to kiwi populations as a direct result of 1080 operations is also compelling science. It may not suit you, but that does not matter.

  4. You may be right Ian. That it doesn't matter. And it would be good if kiwi are doing well, should that be the case. But there's many other species that need to be carefully monitored, because from what we've seen, there's some species of smaller birds missing from drop zone regions, that are meant to be there. Cheers.

  5. Like what species, where and when?

  6. Blue Duck, Falcon, Morepork, Weka, Kea, Kaka, Kakariki, Rifleman, Silvereye, Grey Warbler, Fantail, Tomtit, Robin, Kiwi. There are others that I am not familiar enough with to comment with certainty. But these species, when comparing them with areas that we frequent - that have never had 1080 - are doing much worse.

    Please tell us where the areas are that are exploding with all these species, and the others not mentioned here. You've had 20 years of poisoning, and propaganda, so please tell us where the population explosions are? Thanks.

  7. Clyde - you mention kiwi again. Is there any documented deaths of kiwi from aerial 1080? This was mentioned in another thread but not answered. Ta.

  8. I am not aware of recorded kiwi deaths from 1080. That's my point. Residues of 1080 have been found in kiwi droppings, kiwi are known to eat cereal bait, and brodifacoum (same look, same taste, same smell as 1080) poison residues are found in kiwi in poison operations using bait stations.

    We've spoken to reliable people who have family members that have found dead kiwi on 1080 drops while monitoring - Great Spotted Kiwi, to be specific. The person stated that the kiwi found in cliffed areas where 1080 baits had accumulated at the base. After heavy rain-fall the baits may have broken down into the invertebrates populations. Speculation? Yes! Possible? Yes! I mention kiwi again, because we have spoken to people around the country that live in drop zones. They state that they had kiwi calling before aerial operations, and have not heard them since - and the operations continue.

    When only 5 kiwi are tested in the last 15 years, and also taking into account that DoC do not want to find 1080 in kiwi, then the results are not surprising. This is an interesting paper if you want an un-bias investigation into doc methodology - http://www.thegrafboys.org/files/Pat-Quinn-Erma-Submission.pdf

  9. Ian, The Landsborough poisoning was a disgrace! It should never have been aerially poisoned. It's easy country, and has good access from the valley, using the road and tracks..

    It is not exploding with all kinds of birds species. We've been there twice in the last 2 years. All that's happened is few deer that were there have been poisoned along with the bird populations.

    When was the last time the Maruia and Otira were aerially poisoned? Thanks.

  10. If only five kiwi have been tested for 1080 in 15 years, it's hardly surprising that there aren't any known kiwi deaths. It's also impossible to reach statistically significant conclusions over a sample as small as five. Until 2004, DoC believed brodifacoum was safe to use around kiwi. It came as a bit of a shock to discover it was the cause of death after getting liver samples tested. We're not going to find those things out about 1080 unless tests are regularly done where 1080 is used. It's negligent that these tests are not being done on a regular basis in places like Pukaha Mt Bruce when poisons are consistently used. Kathy.

  11. It's interesting to discuss theoretical risk and hypothesise about ways things might work, but 200 kiwi actually tracked and surviving through aerial 1080 is fairly compeling.

  12. Clyde, you did not answer the question. You claimed: "there's some species of smaller birds missing from drop zone regions, that are meant to be there." When asked what species you said you were talking about: "Blue Duck, Falcon, Morepork, Weka, Kea, Kaka, Kakariki, Rifleman, Silvereye, Grey Warbler, Fantail, Tomtit, Robin, Kiwi". So where are the conservation protection areas in which 1080 has caused these species to disappear?

  13. Clyde the bird monitoring in the Landsborough tells a different story to yours.

  14. Yes, it would be if it were credibly done. The problem we face is that the groups conducting the studies are bias toward using 1080.

    13 kiwi that were tracked in Mt Bruce reserve, a heavily trapped and poisoned DoC managed area in the Wairarapa, recently died. None were tested for poison residues. 200 tagged kiwi in the Ruapehu region, and none die! Extraordinary, alright.

    There's more to a forest than kiwi. How did the morepork do? Devastated, no doubt! How did the Robins do, or the Tomtit? Who knows, they're only interested in trying to prove 1080 doesn't kill kiwi. It's a crazy, biased study aimed at advocacy for 1080.

  15. Oops, getting the posts out of order here.

    The reason studies and research is meant to be blinded, is to try to ensure that the results are accurate, and not contradicting reality, which is the case with some of this DoC research, unfortunately.

  16. Clyde the monitoring in the Landsborough is far more robust and credible than your observation, which I might add is biased. Why on earth would you get a toxicology test done on a kiwi that had its throat ripped out? You still did not identify any areas to back up your previous claim, why not?

  17. Ian - your turn now, can you provide some links to the documentation of the kiwi-tracking through aerial 1080? I've only ever seen 45 or so reported (Spurr, 2000 I think)

  18. Hi Clyde

    Interesting to see you going on about residue testing in birds. It reminds me of the birds that you guys picked after a 1080 op in 2008 in the Nelson lakes area. I understand that the 4 sent for testing (1 waxeye & 3 grey warblers) were all 1080-negative. In other words most likely winter-kill. Haven't seen you mention this in your blog or in your second DVD. Sounds a bit like biased reporting to me.

  19. Hi anonymous. Actually, 5 silver eyes, and 2 grey warblers were handed in. One of the Warblers was in poor condition, so probably not worth testing. The 5 silver eyes where all in good condition, but only one was tested, for some reason. The other interesting thing is that 3 warblers were tested, when only 2 were handed in.

    If a small bird is over 2 days old before testing, 1080 residues may not show up, but it does not rule out 1080 poisoning as cause of death, as you know doubt are aware.

    This find is consistent with 2 aerial drops we have attended in forestry blocks recently (flat, easy country, with roads all through them, by the way). Plenty of dead birds, and no dead possums in one area, and one possum in the other. The reason that birds killed by 1080 are easy to find in snow and forestry is because they are easier to spot.

    It doesn't matter about finding these birds, or whether they contain 1080 residues in measurable amounts or not - because DoC research clearly demonstrates that 1000's of birds are being killed in aerial operations!

  20. Ian, I would suggest having the birds tested because it has probably been predated on while dying from 1080 poison.
    If a kiwi dies in an area that has been poisoned in the last 5 years, it should be tested for residues, no matter who what the bias is of the person who found the bird!
    Kiwi are being found in poisoned areas, where the predators are supposed to be dead, yet they are not being tested for residues. Please test them!

    Also, when were Maruia and Otira last aerially poisoned with 1080? Thanks.

  21. What's happened to my posts, Clyde?

  22. Sorry Aaron, posts might be out of order. Let me know If i've missed one. Cheers.

  23. There are a couple of mine from today missing - one in this post and one in the deer repellent thread. Ta

  24. Looks like my posts have disappeared into the ether?

    I had a question for Ian Gill - I can find reference to a couple of kiwi-tracking results through aerial 1080, totalling about 45 birds (Spurr, 2000). Can you point me in the direction of the documentation of all the others? Ta

  25. Clyde, you say "If a small bird is over 2 days old before testing, 1080 residues may not show up"

    OK, now I'm confused. You're talking about the carcass of a bird poisoned by 1080, right? You're saying 1080 residues be gone from such a dead body within 2 days?

    If so, this does not match up at all with your previous claims of the persistence of 1080 residues in carcasses and secondary poisoning risk.

  26. You raise a good point. However, we can't dispute secondary poisoning. Secondary poisoning even kills insectivorous birds when they feed on contaminated insects, let alone the large number of dogs that have died from accidental poisoning.

    There's lots of contradictions in the science around the use of 1080.
    For example - carcasses contain residues of 1080 for many months, it's indisputable. That's why there is secondary poisoning, even a year after an operation. A lot has to do with how the carcass breaks down.

    However, if I remember correctly, the same author states that only a small mouth-full is enough to kill a small bird. Perhaps he was suggesting that the amount of poison required to kill small birds is so little, that it may be undetectable.

    Given that the bait may only contain 80 parts per million of pure 1080, for example (Some brodifacoum baits contain only 20 parts per million, poison. That equates to 0.02g, per KG of bait, and if that one bait may be enough to kill many small birds, then the bait may be undetectable before testing even takes place. It dosen't mean the bird didn't die of 1080 poisoning. (By the time the poison is metabolised in the body, it may be well below the detectable level of parts per million, anyway.) Of course, it all depends on how much bait the victim consumes.
    In some cases, birds will gorge themselves on bait, and in others, may only get a sub-lethal dose.

    Given that the tests undertaken on birds only go down to parts per million, and not parts per billion (As I was informed by a lab person that does 1080 residue testing on birds - if they are correct), and that when the 1080 is metabolised it becomes fluorocitrate, it is then possible that a low dose is harder to detect because of the metabolic progress. If a larger dose is ingested, it may kill the animal more quickly, leaving a greater residual content of poison.

    Anyway, 1080 poison causes secondary poisoning in birds, animals, insects, aquatic life...anything that metabolises the poison. Cheers.

  27. Hi Clyde,

    Just to give you a Wellington perspective on 1080 regarding smaller birds you talked about earlier. The Tui population has boomed here in recent years, and this has followed from the council using brodifacoum to eliminate most pests in the region. In one reserve here whitehead have been seen for the first time in 100 years. In the reserve I walk in that is regularly brodifacoumed, I have heard whitehead and seen bellbirds and tomtits, with the latter being an indicator of good forest health.

    I have no idea if 1080 affects these bird species in a negative way, but all I can go on is what I've said above which seems a pretty good outcome.

  28. Clyde, if you are honest about using science to support your case, you need to refer to verifiable sources of information. Otherwise one could be tempted to believe you are attempting to cloak hearsay as hard evidence, just by throwing in a few scientific-sounding terms.

    For example - “the same author states that only a small mouth-full is enough to kill a small bird. Perhaps he was suggesting that the amount of poison required to kill small birds is so little, that it may be undetectable”.

    Um, which author? What publication? Perhaps he was suggesting nothing of the sort and we’re being asked to rely on your recollection of what you read?

    Same goes for your mysterious lab person that does 1080 residue testing on birds. Which lab? What person?

    A quick Google shows at least one NZ laboratory that does accredited testing for 1080 in tissues to 1 part per billion (i.e. 0.001 ppm).


    so your statement that “the tests undertaken on birds only go down to parts per million” is, basically, bollocks.

  29. Bait stations are a better way to manage forests. They do target species more directly. When using poisons that cause secondary poisoning, however, then native birds like Morepork and Weka are still being poisoned.

    Brodifacoum is very persistent, and capable of killing in an ecosystem for many years. Brodifacoum accumulates in the body of the bird, but doesn't affect the bird until the lethal dose is reached, which could take over a year in some cases.

    In aerial drops, using 1080, not all the birds are killed in a single drop. Some species aren't affected, but other are. Tui and Bellbird are 2 nectar eating species that don't seem to be as badly affected. But there are many other that are. It may equate to 10% of the population, or 30% for some species. Not noticeable immediately, but over time.

    However, after repeated drops in the areas we have visited, (and when comparing them to areas we know that have never been dropped), the poisoned areas are noticeably worse. This is consistent across the country.

    DoC do have advocacy areas, that have been aerially poisoned many years ago, and are then trapped for predators by ground operators. These blocks then recover, and become good habitats for birds. DoC then point to these blocks as evidence that 1080 works.
    However, it is the ground control work that follows after a drop that benefits the bird species, not the aerial 1080 that was applied 20 years ago. Cheers.

  30. Yes, fair enough, regarding references.
    This statement...."It is important to note that
    failure to detect 1080 in a carcass does not necessarily imply an alternative cause of death. The 1080 may have been degraded if the carcass was two or three days old when collected." This statement comes from - "Impacts of aerial application of 1080 on non-target native fauna
    Review and priorities for research"
    E.B. Spurr and R.G. Powlesland

    The statement "Thus, most of the small insectivorous birds probably require only a tiny fragment of a bait (less than 0.1 g; perhaps one mouthful) to receive a lethal dose of 1080." Comes from ... Spurr, NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, VOL. 2. 1979

    In regard to testing, I did say ...(As I was informed by a lab person that does 1080 residue testing on birds - if they are correct)

    I'm following up with that, just to see if they were interpreted correctly.

  31. cool - thanks for references

    Can't see in Spurr 1979 where it was suggested
    that the amount of poison required to kill small birds is so little, that it may be undetectable.

    Rough estimates - if 0.1 g of 0.15% 1080 bait is a lethal dose to a small bird, think that works out to 0.15 mg of 1080. If the bird was little, say 50 g, 0.15 mg 1080 distributed into 50 g bodyweight works out to 3 mg/kg equivalent concentration. Easily detectable with current tests.

    Be interested in how many labs actually do 1080 testing. Do you know?

  32. Kind of ironic to cite Spurr and Powlesland after saying "I have no faith in _any_ research funded by DoC."

  33. Help me out - 0.1g of 0.15% 1080 bait = 0.00015 (0.15mg)of pure 1080.
    Then divide 0.00015 into 50g, which then = 0.000003 or 0.003mg, not 0.3mg, doesn't it?

    Which may be undetectable - If the bird is over 2 or 3 days old. (according to Spurr)
    Of course, all this is based on the assumption that these estimates are correct.

    I didn't say Spurr said "the amount of poison required to kill small birds is so little, that it may be undetectable."!

    I said ... "Perhaps he was suggesting that the amount of poison required to kill small birds is so little, that it may be undetectable."

    Not sure on how many labs. Landcare do, and Gribbles. I think that's it.


  34. yep, 0.15 mg into 50 g = 0.003 mg per 1 g bodyweight

    as you said before, mg/kg are equivalent units to parts per million. both are used as standards for measuring the concentrations of a substance in small amounts.

    so convert the 0.003 mg per 1 g up to equivalent to mg per KILOGRAM and there's the 3 mg/kg. It's all relative.

    and even if this was a thousand times lower at your figure of 0.003 mg/kg - it would still be detectable.

    In the paper Spurr 1979 I saw no mention about detectability. It just suited you to throw that 'perhaps he was suggesting....' in there. Trouble with science is, that you can get called on 'perhaps'

  35. (Spurr, 1979) "It is likely that small insectivorous species which possess a high metabolic rate will be more sensitive to 1080 poisoning than are house sparrows, so the amount of bait required to kill some species may be less than that shown in Table 2. Even this is a conservative estimate because the calculations assume an even gradient of toxin uptake, although it is known that relatively small pieces of carrot absorb a higher concentration of 1080 than larger pieces (Staples, 1969). Thus, most of the small insectivorous birds probably require only a tiny fragment of a bait (less than 0.1 g; perhaps one mouthful) to receive a lethal dose of 1080.

    "The available evidence (i.e., a consideration of the diets, the species of birds killed, and the amount of bait probably required for a lethal dose) indicates that most of our land bird species should be regarded as being at risk of being killed by feeding directly on poisoned baits or secondarily on poisoned prey."

    (Spurr, 1994) "Confirmation of the presence of 1080, and by implication cause of death, can be
    obtained by submitting carcasses of dead birds (or other non-target species) for analysis of 1080 residues. Residues of 1080 in tissue samples can be detected by gas chromatography to a level of 0.0015 μg/g (G.R.G. Wright pers. comm.).

    "Protocols are currently being developed covering the type and quantity of sample required, the method of handling, storage, and transport of samples, which laboratory they should be sent to, what analyses need to be carried out, and how to interpret the results (G.R.G. Wright pers. comm.). At present, there
    is also no national database to send the results to. It is important to note that
    failure to detect 1080 in a carcass does not necessarily imply an alternative cause of death. The 1080 may have been degraded if the carcass was two or three days old when collected."

    Note the last sentence confirms that Spurr did make the comment about 1080 possibly being undetectable at 2-3 days old. Kathy

  36. Hi all
    I was just reading article Diagnosis of 1080 poisoning in dogs.

    A dog may die of 1080 poisoning but have tissue 1080 levels too low to detect. In trials by McIntosh and Staples

    2 of the 12 dogs poisoned with up to 20 lethal doses. This proportion would have been much higher if stomach contents had been available for analysis . Tha analytical method used detects 0.05 mg 1080 in a 100g sample (0.5 ppm)

    Hope helps please note other Scientists have also found no traces of 1080 in insectivous birds and gizzards clear although died of 1080.

    Ray Foxley

  37. Isn't detectability in essence a moot point? The key issue is the net effect on the population. Even _if_ there were conclusively proven to be no bykill, that doesn't mean much if there is no net benefit to the population over time I'd suggest.

  38. I agree the key issue is the net effect on the population. How much time do you need, not forgetting we have been using 1080 since 1954 where is the net benefit to species.What birds and the peer reviewed studies that back this up. No anecdotal stories. The fact is so many birds that have died have not been linked to the cause of 1080. This does not mean they have not died of 1080. Until a more sophisticated way of testing birds is established this will remain the case.

    Ray Foxley

  39. A good review of the net impact of toxin use is "Ecological Consequences of Toxin Use for Mammalian Pest Control in New Zealand — An Overview", by John Innes and Gary Barker of Landcare Research. (N.Z.J.Ecol., Volume 23(2), 1999). They conclude: "We interpret present evidence to suggest that the ecological costs of using toxins are much less than the damage costs if they are not used, due to the magnitude of known impacts of introduced pest mammals."

    The 'precautionary principle' therefore suggests continuing with 1080 use, while constantly monitoring, refining, reducing and hopefully one day replacing with something better.

  40. Unfortunately, it appears Innes, in a pro 1080 outburst, came up with the anecdotal claim that predators kill around 24 million birds per year!

    Why would a scientist make such a ridiculous claim?

    Perhaps he has decided to join the pro poison hysteria? Why not look into the damage the use of aerial 1080 is doing? Who is funding that? No-one!

    The precautionary principle should means err on the side of caution - that this poison should never be dropped aerially, or that we can demonstrate that there is no harm - which we cannot.

    There is not a single, CREDIBLE, scientific study that shows a net population benefit to any native species, from using aerial 1080 - not one!

    The drops go on.

    I look forward to the day when scientists are not required to be entrenched in the political furore, to dodge the urge to be a conformist. Scientists must be permitted to focus on the facts, not the predetermined outcomes desired by those that fund them.

  41. What about Gary Barker then? :)

    It speaks volumes that you offer no substantive critique of the paper but try ad hominem argument instead.

    The 'precautionary principle' in conservation biology is not 'do no harm', it is effectively 'do _least_ harm'. Which, as Innes and Barker suggest, is careful and improving use of toxins.

    "There is not a single, CREDIBLE, scientific study that shows a net population benefit to any native species, from using aerial 1080 - not one!"

    What makes this claim in itself credible? There are peer reviewed papers published that contradict the statement.

    It'll be a great day when aerial 1080 ceases. Progress towards that end will be incremental however, and unfortunately the absolutist position is a hindrance to that. Deer repellent, bird repellents, pest attractants, low sow drops, cluster drops etc offer real progress towards less toxin use, higher benefits and lower impacts. Perhaps some compromise would be a good idea?

  42. You make good sense Aaron, as usual.

    The problem I have is - the drop rates are still being reduced, and the harm is still being realised.

    Steve and I were filming on the Westcoast in the recent 90,000 hectare drop. A couple of DoC rangers came along with radio transmitters.
    They were tracking about 30 Fernbirds, subjected to the aerial drop, at a sow rate of 2kg per hectare.

    I now understand that 10% of the tagged Fernbirds were killed in that drop. I will confirm this, as I have an OIA request in with DoC at the moment.

    That's a species that has not been studied before, like many others, and yet the drops continue to go on as they have for the last 30 years, and in greater numbers.

    What about the other species that lived in the drop zone? How did they fare?
    Who knows, because it's too expensive to do an ecosystem level study. But that doesn't stop the users using the "lets just drop the stuff and see what happens" principle.

    The problem is, the precautionary principle has never been applied by the users of 1080.
    Serious, longterm damage has been done - that's obvious - to us, anyway.

    By now, if there was any benefit from 30 years of 1080 drops, you think we'd see it.
    We don't. What we see in the aerial drop zones supports the same thing that scientists, the Whiting-Okeefe's, found with the DoC research.
    That there is no benefit!

  43. 3 of 30 Fernbirds died, Clyde, its been public knowledge for a while: http://www.doc.govt.nz/about-doc/news/media-releases/1080-poses-low-risk-to-fernbird-populations/

  44. I don't know that it's been public knowledge!
    It may have been DoC knowledge, or those closely aligned with DoC's website.

    So, at least 10% of the Fernbirds are being killed in aerial operations. Probably more, historically.
    Add that to 40% of Kea, at least 30% of Robin, who knows how many Ruru - and as for other species - who knows?

    You've got to give it to DoC - they sure are good at smoothing over the damage they do..."1080 poses low risk to Fernbird". Nice one!

    1080 poses no problem to anything - unless it's spread around the country-side the way it is. DoC poses a threat to Fernbird, and many other species, not 1080.

    DoC is responsible for much of the damage that is being done with 1080 - and they need to start accepting it.

  45. Ray Foxley – I think the ‘diagnosis of 1080 poisoning in dogs’ article you refer to is a 1978 clip from Surveillance magazine. Please correct if wrong. That it’s over 30 years old would explain the prehistoric detection limit of 0.5 ppm. Current detection limits are about 500 times more sensitive than that - 0.001 ppm for 1080 in animal tissue. Arguably more ‘sophisticated’

    Kathy & Clyde – yes, Spurr & Powesland (1997) Science for Conservation 62 do say that “the 1080 may have been degraded if the carcass was two to three days old when collected”. Makes sense, because 1080 is biodegradable, and right quickly under some environmental conditions. But what they don’t say is that the amount of 1080 required to kill a small bird is so little as to be undetectable. If a *fresh* carcass of anything killed by 1080 was tested with current methods – residues would show up.

    Aaron – agree that detectability might not be a biggie in an overall net balance approach to bird population effects over time. But detectability is bloody important if you seek to use it in attributing 1080 poisoning as a cause of death in individuals – for instance in kiwi.

    My impression is that it would suit Clyde & cadre to use detectability, and the variable nature of 1080 degradation in carcasses, as conveniently portable goal posts.
    e.g. demand that kiwi test be tested for 1080 (even ones obviously munched by stoats)– if nothing found, claim ‘oh but it had degraded they still could have been poisoned’.

    Guess the message is - collect it fresh and test it fast.