Monday, June 13, 2011

New research paper reinforces PCE report as incompetent

This recent research paper (below) on the use of 1080 in New Zeland is consistent with the findings of other credible scientists - Dr Pat Whiting Okeefe, Dr Quinn Whiting Okeefe - Dr Jo Pollard - Annie Potts - Dr Meriel Watts - and the evidence contained in the documentary  Poisoning Paradise - Ecocide New Zealand

The Author indicates in her paper that about 400,000 hectares of forests were planned to be aerially poisoned in 2009, and based some of her findings on this figure. The actual area was over 500,000 hectares, and is expected to be higher in following years. (ERMA - report)  

Click here to view Alexis Mari Pietak's (PhD) report A Critical Look at Aerial Dropped Poison Laced Food in New Zealand's Forest Ecosystems

Here's the summary to the paper ...


Each year, New Zealand aerially distributes massive quantities of acutely lethal, poison-laced foodstuffs into its forest ecosystems. The toxin most commonly used is sodium monofluoroacetate (compound 1080), an acutely toxic, oxygen metabolism disrupting agent with very high toxicity to most air-breathing organisms. New Zealand ecological conservation officials claim that aerial poison operations are an essential strategy to protect vulnerable indigenous flora and fauna from exotic mammalian pests, and that the benefits of aerial poison operations outweigh their risks.

This manuscript presents a critical review of the existing scientific literature on the non-target effects of aerial poison operations in New Zealand. This review reveals that in this complex, multifactor situation, the relevant science has been selectively interpreted, selectively studied, and moreover, left grossly incomplete in its scope, possibly in favour of non-environmental, economic interests.

Using the existing scientific information on non-target effects of aerial poison operations, a cost-benefit analysis employing a numerical scoring system was performed. This cost-benefit analysis, which compared the costs and benefits to native species for aerial poison operations versus unchecked possum populations at their peak density, indicated that aerial poison operations have twice as many costs to native species as benefits, and that aerial poison operations were twice as costly to native species as unmanaged possum populations at their peak density.

The potential for widespread poisoning of New Zealand’s large number of endemic and threatened/endangered omnivorous, insectivorous, and carnivorous bird species by the uncontrolled distribution of poison-laced food throughout an entire ecosystem is a serious issue worthy of international concern and immediate action.

A Critical Look at Aerial Dropped Poison Laced Food in New Zealand's Forest Ecosystems


  1. Hi Clyde,

    I have had a quick read of this piece. I have several serious concerns about the cost-benefit analysis offered by Pietak.

    Firstly, she misrepresents the overall cost-benefit analysis. The overall effect (without criticising the quantitative content of the analysis) is +291 in favour of 1080, and -317 against (a much smaller overall effect than that implied by only looking at half of the analysis and concluding a 2x difference).

    Secondly, there are several logical flaws in the analysis. For example (p18) there are two benefits associated with unchecked possum populations. However, neither are singularly beneficial. The first (increase in species unpalatable to possums) is a consequence of species removed by possums. Tree ferns are expected to increase in abundance for example. As these are unpalatable to all species the result is a net change in forest composition with long term ecological consequences that are - on balance - negative for native browsing species. The second (possum contribution to seed dispersal) has indications of benefits in regions where kereru are absent, but those benefits are mixed as some species are positively and other negatively affected by possum dispersal.

    Thirdly, no cost is associated with bird predation in the absence of 1080 use. Only possums are considered are bird/nest predators despite the impact of other mammalian pest species that are controlled by 1080 use - rodents and mustelids.

    Fourthly, risks of endocrine disruption - despite not being documented - are given are high score of 51 and applied equally to all species of native bird susceptible to either primary or secondary poisoning.

    Fifthly, the costs allocated to native birds are enormous, despite not being well evidenced (-144 and -36, for insectivorous and omnivorous birds respectively). Weight given to realistic costs, rather than worst-case scenarios is needed here.

    Sixthly, the reduction of mammalian pests is only scored a +50, because of inconsistencies in the scoring system used. The benefits should be counted against the number of native species - both plants and birds - put at risk by mammalian pest species because this is how the costs are counted. As such, this is a gross underestimate of the benefit of 1080 use.

    This last point is underscored by the fact that unevidenced endocrine effects (K) are mysteriously given a high cost that the all benefits of reduction of possums, rats, mustelids, deer, goats and rabbits all put together (L).

  2. Whenever there is an assessment like the cost - benefit analysis included in this paper, there will be disagreement.

    The important thing to look at is the fact that the over-all science, as is highlighted in this document, used to prop up the 1080 industry, is flawed. The research is clearly bias - and has been misrepresented over and over again - as has clearly been highlighted by this paper, and other scientists.

    There is still not a single, credible, scientific study that shows a net population benefit to any native species through the use of 1080 poison.

    This research paper is right on the mark, and is a welcomed document in a country that is overwhelmed by bureaucratic interference and incompetence.

  3. nice work clyde, i have sent this page link to DOC with a request to wake up. just to add a small plea of sanity into the mad games arena chaired by this institutions bureaucrats.
    Although NZ born & bred,I am going to leave this country if its clean&green Myth continues to be ravaged by its self-pronounced caretakers..

  4. "There is still not a single, credible, scientific study that shows a net population benefit to any native species through the use of 1080 poison."

    That is a big claim, Clyde. What are you basing that on?

  5. Hi Aaron. That's based on the fact that DoC or AHB are yet to present a "credible" study that proves a net population benefit to any native species through the use of 1080 poison. Most insectivorous, omnivorous and carnivorous NZ bird species have never been studied. Taking this into account, it's astounding that the users of 1080 continue to endorse it!

  6. How do you decide if a study is "credible", Clyde?

  7. That's a very good question, Aaron. I take advice from experienced scientists. I forward studies and have them analysed. Many of the studies presented to support 1080 are of poor structural quality, and have clearly identifiable errors. The bias of the researchers is often, clearly demonstrated. It's not too difficult for the average thinking person to see through the propaganda.

  8. How do you know that your experienced scientists aren't themselves biased, in that case?

    The ultimate test of credibility of these studies would be whether they have been peer-reviewed and published in credible journals, in my view. What do you think?

  9. That's fair enough. But the scientists that I am dealing with are not affiliated to any department, and are not on the payroll. In regard to international journals, yes. Not so in NZ. In regard to the peer reviewed research - there may be nothing wrong with some of the studies, and so the peer review approves of them. However, when you are putting forward research that only investigates affects on subjects that are least effected by these 1080 drops, you won't find evidence of harm! It's like studying the sun's role in skin cancer, from a cave in Alaska in mid winter. It's so easy to keep the ignorant happy with advocacy science. Let's place a moratorium on this practice of ecocide, and study the species most at risk from these poison drops. Let's start caring about our wildlife!!!!

  10. "It's not too difficult for the average thinking person to see through the propaganda."

    "It's so easy to keep the ignorant happy with advocacy science."

    So, because I dont entirely agree with your position and I do find some of the science credible, I'm less than the average thinking person and also ignorant? LOL. Someone confident in their evidence wouldn't need to resort to that sort of silliness Clyde.

    At the start of this post, you list several critiques of the science around 1080 and pest control (Whiting-O'Keefe, Pollard, Watts and Pietak) - yet none of them have been peer reviewed and published in the international journals you consider credible, as far as I can see. Why not?

  11. RE - peer review - That's currently happening, Aaron. Sorry if I offended you, it was not intended.

  12. Not offended Clyde, it just seems pointless. However my friend IS offended that you are encouraging hunters to go to the Hollyford for a hunt, once they've seen "Roarin' in Reds". :) That was his secret spot!

    Look forward to seeing the papers published then.

  13. Just out of interest Clyde, which international journals have they been submitted to? In other words, which journals would be considered credible by you and the scientists you take advice from?

  14. I'm not sure Aaron, they're not my papers. Which do you recommend?
    I don't think they need to be peer reviewed to be accepted as credible. They are presenting the facts, and are referencing their statements. It's pretty plain - the use of 1080 poison in this country is supported by poor research, selective subjects least likely to show harm, and anecdotal statements.

  15. Biological Conservation? Ecology? Journal of Zoology? Journal of Applied Ecology? Beats me, there must be some that the scientists you deal with trust. I presumed you had some in mind when you mentioned them.

    I dont buy the contention that NZ journals aren't credible though.

    "I don't think they need to be peer reviewed to be accepted as credible.They are presenting the facts, and are referencing their statements."

    Intriguing. You'll apply that to articles you disagree with too?

    You can make the claim that there is poor research as much as you like, but that claim itself needs to be tested by peer review and/or publication in a 'credible journal', surely.

  16. You can have all the peer reviews and science you like - it comes down to who's funding it, the bias of the researchers (in DoC's case, it's clear), and what the purpose of the science is (In DoC's case, it's clear). If NZ journals have been supporting the use of 1080, based on the poor research that's been presented to date - then yes, NZ journals are junk!!! The articles "I disagree with" are of poor quality, bias, and clearly supporting the funders preconceived determinations. At the end of the day, the proof is in the field. The scientists that are pushing 1080 are claiming astounding results. Please tell us, the public of NZ, where these results are - because they sure aren't sticking out. However, I do know of places that are managed by man on the ground, pest control work, that are clearly doing great. I know of other areas that have no pest control whatsoever, that are far superior to 1080'd areas we have visited. So please, once again, tell us where the areas are that have had repeated 1080 drops, that are showing up to 10 times the populations of birds, than the areas that have never been poisoned?

  17. "the areas ... that have had repeated 1080 drops, that are showing up to 10 times the populations of birds, than the areas that have never been poisoned"

    You're right, that is a remarkable claim. Which papers say that?

  18. Department of Conservation brochure, on their Mapara "study", as mentioned in Poisoning Paradise - DoC state they recorded a "10 fold increase in Kokako population". Total nonsense, as demonstrated in Poisoning Paradise.

  19. Sounds remarkable alright - do you have a link to that brochure Clyde? Any other areas such a claim has been made?

  20. It's on Poisoning Paradise, Aaron. It can be viewed by visiting a post or two after this, i think it is, and pushing the link to the film festival. It's doing pretty well at the mo. It's leading the people's choice, out of over 1200 films from all over the world.

    In regard to any other extraordinary statements? Just look in the media, on practically a weekly basis, and you'll see propaganda and mis-information.
    A good place to start is the recent PCE report - now that's just down right ridiculous!

  21. I read the Pietak paper and conclude that it seriously misrepresents the science that it quotes to the point of often saying the opposite of what the authors conclude.
    For those who are able and willing to read the actual papers on which Pietak based his paper it will be revealing.

  22. I think that's what Pietak was intending - in some cases, what the research indicates, is not what the authors convey. Could you please tell us which papers people should read? Thanks.

  23. "DoC state they recorded a '10 fold increase in Kokako population'"

    They actually state the BREEDING population increased tenfold (from 4 breeding pairs to over 40). For some reason the word BREEDING was omitted on Poisoning Paradise’s commentary - quite a significant omission, a “gross misrepresentation” you might say. ;)

    Interesting that the Mapara work was published in an international journal. The peer reviewers and editor seemed to find it credible.

    You've worked yourself into a circular argument Clyde. The NZ journals are junk because they publish papers you disagree with. And the papers are junk because they are in junk journals.

    The articles you cite have not faced the same scrutiny as the research they attempt to criticise. Why not?

  24. Hi Clyde,

    sure I can provide you with a detailed list of the critique on Pietaks paper which demonstrates that the sources that Pietak cited in his reference numbers next to his claims in many cases state the complete opposite of what Pietak claims or state evidence that Pietak avoids to mention which materially change Pietaks argument.

    A compiled a list including the references for you. All the papers referenced are available online.

    I am a Scientist myself and have long been frustrated by the unsustainable mythology that some people have built around the 1080 issue.

    You can find my critique of Pietak's paper here:


  25. Thanks Thomas.
    Can you please tell us the areas that show significant increases in bird populations through the use of 1080 poison, so we can compare them with the areas we know that are doing well, without aerial 1080 poison? Thanks

  26. In fact, the scientists we work with demonstrate in Poisoning Paradise that the population of Kokako didn't increase by any significant level until after the aerial 1080 poison was stopped, and sensible ground control trapping was used. Besides, Mapara is easy country, and should never have aerially poisoned in the first place.

    Besides, the stoat population at Mapara(New Zealand birds most significant predator), was relatively unchanged during the 1080 operations.

    There's so much mis-information, and junk science used to prop up the poison industry, it's a joke. Just look at the PCE report, it's clear bias (considering it was meant to be un-bias) and how she deliberately chose to avoid investigating alternatives and concerns from the anti-1080 poison lobby.

  27. Clyde, the opposite is true: With your dramatized movies shown to a scientifically illiterate people you have drummed up poison paranoia and created a Which-hunt not seen since the days of the great inquisition. If it wasn't for the continuing efforts of conservationists NZ would long have lost the last of our endangered species. The people are gullible and as you know most who hear about Pietak's paper or the Quinns missives of the same sort will never actually read the sources they cite and read the actual research documents available. That's how the propaganda machine you have created can carry on working.
    It is a shame.

  28. Clyde: How about addressing the numerous shortcomings and complete misrepresentations in Pietak's paper for a start?

  29. Thomas - I think Alexis Pietak is a woman.

  30. There is no dramatisation in Poisoning Paradise. It's a whole lot worse, in reality. The animal welfare issue alone is enough to throw this country onto the top of the list of the most inhumane countries in the world.

    Where is the EVIDENCE 1080 is working? We're tiring of the "science".

    I was at a 1080 meeting at Turangi yesterday, held by United Future. The majority of the crowd were hugely opposed to 1080. Why? Because they have just lost their pets, for the umpteenth time, they have just witnessed the poison aerially dropped right next to the Tongariro River, across easy country, a few hundred metres from where people live!!!

    Where's the evidence that 1080 works, the tangible evidence? There is none, just advocacy science, and propaganda like the recent PCE report.

    Study the Morepork, the Kea, the Kakariki, the Falcon, the Weka, The Whitehead, the Robins, the Tomtits, the Fantail, the Rifleman, the Fernbird, the Kiwi, the Woodpigeon, the lizards, the frogs, the deer. All of these species have been found dead after poison drops, and are known to eat poison bait.

    Study the whole ecosystem before you assume the arrogant position of playing god, and deciding you know what's best, without conclusive evidence.

    Your intentions may be genuine, but it's time to treat our wildlife as precious. I for one do not accept that it's ok to kill off 10, or 30%, or whatever the actual kill is (because it's mostly unmonitored) of a population of our native species, in the name of the greater good.
    Especially, when there is no sound evidence of population benefit.

    We are not opposed to pest control, we are opposed to the unnecessary poisoning of this country, against the wishes of the informed public - the public that live near the drops and see the damage.
    The PCE report has just made things a whole lot worse, not better. A bit like the ERMA report, really.

  31. Thomas, you say you are a scientist. Which department do you work for? Thanks.

  32. "In fact, the scientists we work with demonstrate in Poisoning Paradise that the population of Kokako didn't increase by any significant level until after the aerial 1080 poison was stopped, and sensible ground control trapping was used."

    No, the scientists you worked with made a basic error. At the start of the poisoning drops the total population was 45, but only 3 or 4 were females. Female numbers began to climb once the 1080 started, but total population increase only began once the new females began to breed (which takes a year or two).

    Scientists should know its kind of hard for a bird population to increase when 90% of the birds can’t lay eggs.

    With a whole lot of old males, it's no wonder the total population took a while to increase as those males died off through old age. But the breeding population (male/female pairs) increased more or less straight-away.

    DOC clearly use the term BREEDING population in the article pictured in your film. Why did you not use that term in the commentary, and instead made it sound like they were referring to the total population?

    To quote Poisoning Paradise, that is “a gross misrepresentation”.

  33. "There's so much mis-information, and junk science used to prop up the poison industry, it's a joke."

    The Mapara work was published in an international journal. Do you consider their peer-reviewers and editors to be biased too?

    Again - the articles you cite have not been submitted for the same scrutiny as the research they criticise. Why not?

  34. As was clearly pointed out by the Okeefes in Poisoning Paradise, the Kokako population may have been aided by decreased predation, through trapping, after the 1080 stopped.

    The 1080 didn't decrease the stoat population, across the entire period that it was used. That's the species that may have been predating the birds - stoats. The trapping was what targeted the stoats, and it worked, after the 1080 was ended.

    DoC claim they drop the poison before the breeding season begins, so that there will be impressive breeding results that year. Not a year or two down the track.

    A year or two down the track, the rat population is increasing to the extrapolations you claim the kokako are, and the stoat population follows it, as we know from the research conducted on rats. Then another poison drop is used to kill the rats...and the birds, and the bats, and the deer, and the insect life, and the amphibians (which are largely unresearched), and the pets and whatever else comes in contact with the stuff!

    1080 is a poison, it kills anything that eats it. Goodness knows what the effects of sub-lethally poisoning our bird life every few years will be, down the track.

    The way DoC, AHB and F & B promote 1080, people would think it's a medicine, a growth hormone, a fetiliser! It's not.

    The research on Mapara was on a species that are not greatly effected, it seems, by 1080. Although Kokako have been found dead after 1080 operations, and tested positive for 1080 residues.

    The whole single species research advocacy is a joke, anyway. To poison the entire ecosystem, and monitor only a single species, least likely to show harm, and then claim that 1080 is a great thing, speaks for itself.

  35. What was the effect of 1080 on the Morepork, the Grey Warbler, the Tomtit, the Robin, the Falcon, the Keruru, the Fantail, the Whitehead, the Rifleman, the Tui, the Short and Long tailed bats, and native frogs, the Weta and other invertebrates in the drop zone? What did the peer review scientists say about their welfare?

    If the peer reviewers fall for a single-species advocacy paper, when a broad spectrum poison is being aerially spread across the entire forest ecosystem - without questioning it - yes, the peer review is as bad as the research.

  36. In regard to the papers not being submitted to peer review, I do not know. Perhaps they are. But given the apparent bias of the reviewers, as pointed out above, I'm not surprised if they're not.

  37. Clyde I am not working for any department. I am simply interested in conservation and in the 1080 debate and from what I could see in the Pietak paper that you posted your link to got very upset about the blatant misrepresentation by Pietak of the science he quotes. I made the effort actually read the sources he uses to justify his claims and found that many of his claims are completely baseless and refuted by the very sources he cited. Its rather embarrassing for your case I would think.
    Have you actually read my commentary to which I posted a link?

  38. Carrot bait is still used, and still kills native species, as does pollard bait. While filming Poisoning Paradise, and A Shadow of Doubt, carrots were used, and dropped across the Kahurangi National Park, around the Karamea area.
    There were still plenty of small chaff pieces, and we did find dead native birds.
    The point is, the wrong species are researched, and the research is bias toward the requirements of those commissioning it.

    The people that are informed about 1080 - the ones that live around the drop zones - don't want it. It causes too many non-target species deaths, and is inhumane - not to mention to poison the entire ecosystem is insane!

    Please read this research paper

    I am now advocating for an international, "independent, scientific investigation into the use of 1080 in New Zealand.
    This seems to be a fair way of having the science settled, once and for all. If this investigation comes back with the all-clear, so be it.

  39. Clyde if you really doubt that the elimination of predators is aiding the recovery and health of our native fauna and flora then I think you should undertake a trip to some of NZ's best pest free ecosystems on our offshore islands.

    Without the use of poison bait none of these reserves would have been possible. Yet Pietak laments in her paper the use of Brodifacoum on Kapiti Island and erroneously proclaims that 99% of Weka were killed while the paper that she cites clearly states that Weka were considered at risk and therefore many were captured and kept in a safe enclosure during the predator control operation and that Weka were breeding prolifically on Kapiti afterwards.

    See this sloppy and outright false reporting of the science is what creates mythologies which then get amplified by scientifically illiterate letter writers and activists who simply believe what you, Pietak and others present to them. Thus a poison paranoia is inflamed and people run around shouting that 1080 kills everything.

    After the publication of your Poisoning Paradise movie local school kids here would report that Kiwi are threatened by 1080 (instead of stoats, rats, cats and especially hunting dogs roaming uncontrolled and often unseen by their minders for hours and sometimes days!). Even local school teachers taught their students that is is 1080 that eliminates our native bird life....not predation.
    You bear significant responsibility for the amount of nonsense that is being handed around due to your unbalanced dramatized movies.

    I am all in favor of a independent international scientific investigation and more studies about the effects and efficiencies of predator control in general. I am glad to hear that you would accept the outcome of these.

    Aaron thanks for letting me know that Alexis Pietak is a woman.


  40. This article called The Toxicity and Sub-Lethal Effects of Brodifacoum in Birds and Bats tells you how brodifacoum exterminated weka on Tawhitinui Island. It reviews the persistence and potency of this second-generation anti-coagulant, which has killed a variety of bats, birds (including kiwi), and invertebrates in poisoning operations. Alexis Pietak's concerns are justified.

  41. I do believe that the removal of predators from some ecosystems does help the native species. However, there is evidence that our native species have learnt to adapt to the existence of their foreign inhabitants.

    I am all for native wildlife protection, and I'll take full responsibility for trying to help our wildlife, and many other New Zealanders in getting the truth about what's happening in our ecosystems, in regard to the use of 1080 poison, exposed.

    I certainly hope that schools play Poisoning Paradise, and that any sensible student or person will instantly see the importance of the content of this film. It seems they are.

    Here's a message that was just posted on the Green Unplugged Film Festival website ...

    "Less than a year after the creation of the EPA in the US, 1080 was banned from its only intended use as a bait collar to control agressive coyote populations in the western states and rodent control because it was so cheap to produce.. If New Zealand has a representative government, public outrage should be able to achieve a ban of this product especially since the only party that benfits from its purchase is the government itself. Only four countries allow its use today and in those countries it is primarily used as a rodent poison. The solution seems rather easy via elections or legislative action to have it banned. The harm is obvious to any one and the benefit is unproven at any level. Demonstrations are not the answer but information, such as this video, and informing elected officials from the affected areas that depend on votes would solve the problems quickly. The international community will only help if their own food supply is contaiminated by imported New Ze

    and from the same contributor...

    "My comment number 16 was posted as a guest. I live in South America but worked in the environmental business in the US for over 20 years. I based my comments from experience. Surely you can show this film in high schools and universities to educate voters. This tactic has worked in many areas in the US and any change will have to come from the educated youth. I know the US is no paradise but it does have many restrictive environmental laws that are enforced and most legislation was pushed by youth, house wives, and the elderly who vote in great numbers. The only countries now using this product are third world or blatantly corrupt governments. New Zealand is better than this and has enough scientific information to have this product banned. I am ashamed that the only place it is manufatured is one of the poorest states in the US. I wonder what the employees tox screens look like after years of working with this poison."

    and another...

    "How on earth can New Zealanders allow such a toxin to be used in their country?
    The World Health Organization warned to keep 1080 out of the environment - do New Zealanders not realise this?
    And aerial distribution of 1080? That amounts to environmental degradation; ie. the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife.
    New Zealand needs to stop this absolutely ignorant behaviour immediately."

    and there are more. Just visit the links on the above posts.

    No, Thomas, we hope you are willing to take responsibility for the damage that the perpetrators that you support, and other conformists, are perpetrating on our wildlife!

    In regard to an international investigation - great, we agree on something. Let's welcome the international investigation, and because you have the ear of our opposition, perhaps you could suggest to our Department of Conservation and Animal Health Board that they help pay for it!

  42. You are incorrect, Thomas - in regard to your love affair with toxins.

    Ulva Island, Below Stewart Island, with a land area of over 1000 hectares, was eradicated of pests using ground based trapping methods, targeting individual pests.

    This method allowed the native wildlife to live - unlike aerial poisoning operations which wipe out most inhabitants. We are tired of the pro-poison nazi ways, in their willingness to kill all living species, yes, including our precious endemic species, in an arrogant attempt to play God. Let's target the pest, in the most humane way possible - and protect our native wildlife while we do it.

  43. "We are tired of the pro-poison nazi ways"

    Hey Clyde, I think you are ok with ground laid cyanide, like me? Guess that means we are both nazis.

  44. “As was clearly pointed out by the Okeefes in Poisoning Paradise, the Kokako population may have been aided by decreased predation, through trapping, after the 1080 stopped.”

    Both worked. In the period of aerial 1080 the number of breeding pairs went from 4 to 17, then the ground control saw pairs increase further to 40.

    “DoC claim they drop the poison before the breeding season begins, so that there will be impressive breeding results that year. Not a year or two down the track.”

    I don’t think even DOC share your expectation of breeding success from male:male kokako pairs!

    Looking only at total numbers and not at female numbers/breeding pairs was a significant error in your documentary.

    “1080 didn't decrease the stoat population, across the entire period that it was used. That's the species that may have been predating the birds - stoats.”

    No. Read the Kokako Recovery Plan:

    “.. the immediate cause of mainland kokako decline is recruitment failure due to predation by ship rats and possums at kokako nests … Stoats and feral cats also occasionally kill kokako, but they are less numerous than ship rats and possums and are not currently regarded as key predators.”

    You can try and deflect with your other claims – yet even if they are correct, that doesn’t take away the fact that at Mapara we have clear, published and peer reviewed credible evidence that aerial 1080 helped that population of that species.

    Poisoning Paradise misrepresented that. You seem like straight-up guys to me and I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but you need to acknowledge the mistake.

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. Yes, you are right, cyanide is humane.

  47. The population of "breeding pairs" from 4 to 17, isn't 10 fold! If that was the case.

    I suggest you take up your concerns with the scientist that conducted the research that exposed the errors in the Mapara study.
    Dr Whiting Okeefe's email address is - Please ask him.

    Possums aren't a predator of birds. That's another mis-leading, pro-1080 piece of propaganda.
    Until the staged photos were done at Ngamanu, it is reported that no-one had actually seen a rat attack a bird nest.

    The 2 minute inclusion of the Kokako study in the 2 hour documentary Poisoning Paradise, was not an error. Stoats are not effectively removed from poisoning operations, and if there is an effect, it is likely to be through the consuming of non-targeted, poisoned birds.
    We have yet to find a possum, or rat, in areas outside our endemic Weka habitat, that has been scavenged by a stoat.

    The truth is, if stoats are killed in poisoning operations, it's because they are scavenging birds that have been poisoned. And we've found plenty of evidence of that.

  48. "Yes, you are right, cyanide is humane."

    So why are you calling people who disagree with you 'Nazis'?

  49. They're not dropping cyanide from the air, across the entire ecosystem!

    I'm not calling people who disagree with me nazi's, Aaron. I'm calling people that support the aerial dropping of poisons across our country, of being nazi-like in their support, and methods.

    It's the other way around.
    Why are you opposed to democratic opposition to a nazi style poisoning regime?

  50. "Why are you opposed to democratic opposition to a nazi style poisoning regime?"

    Show me where I have said that or even implied it Clyde. Bet you cant. :-)

    People are welcome to hold any view, and we are all welcome to peacefully discuss our different views. Without being called 'nazi-like'. Right?

  51. I totally agree! Thanks, Aaron. Enjoy your night.

  52. I'm not finished yet, Clyde! :) Hopefully we can keep it civil. I have relatives who had to face real Nazis, you probably do too, and we trivialise that when we use such an analogy.

  53. The people that live around the drop zones don't think these drops are trivial, either. They are being terrorised, in some cases. Some of them have their pets killed, and their health is a concern them, and so is their children's - let alone what's happening to the health of our wildlife.

    We no longer have faith in the research provided to allay these concerns, by those in the industry.

  54. And so you honestly think using the Nazi analogy is appropriate?

    I look forward to the day we see our last aerial 1080 drop, yet currently I see a place for it as one of the tools for conservation and TB eradication. Am I like a Nazi, Clyde?

  55. Clyde you said:
    "However, there is evidence that our native species have learnt to adapt to the existence of their foreign inhabitants."
    That's total nonsense. I guess you mean to say: We have gotten used to the fact that our native species are on the way out due to relentless predation over the past century so we call that "adaptation" ect.

    I agree totally with you Aaron about the nasty Nazi comparisons people use. I am from Germany and for everybody who has visited Auschwitz or dealt with this part of history extensively it is unbearable when people draw the sacrifices and suffering that the Nazis caused into the mud by analogies today. This goes for the so called anti-1080ies with their disregard as well as Hone Harawira....
    Some local anti-1080y activist put a big swastika sign at our towns entrance and with help of the local RSA we told him where to stick that!

  56. Back to Pietaks paper:
    She asserts that 1080 is an endocrine disruptor. This myth has been circulated for a long time. Do you agree that this is a myth? If not do you have any evidence to support it?
    I gave you the links to the papers that clearly show that 1080 is not an endocrine disruptor. Are you willing to concede this point?

  57. The practice of dropping 1080 poison from aircraft, around peoples homes, and into their water supplies, is nazi-like behavior! TB can be managed by farmers, and by trapping forest margins. Aerial poisoning operations aren't necessary. That's my personal experience from travelling our country, from one end to the other, and filming the evidence. Cheers.

  58. 1080 poison has saved NO species. We can take you to places where 1080 has never been used, and all species that were there 50 years ago, are still there now, some in good populations.

    We can take you to places where 1080's been repeatedly dropped, and there are species missing, that should be present, that were there 50 years ago.

    It's easy to say that you have been too late, and the predators have beaten you to it. Why is it then, that these same species (in the south island too) are doing just fine without your poisoning help?

    It's arrogant, and ignorant, to assume you have the ability to save our ecosystems with aerially applied poisons, when you don't know the effect it will have on most of the species that live in the forests.

    Introduced predators haven't extincted a species since they arrived in NZ - but MAN sure has!

    Not only is the practice of dropping poisons around our communities, besides peoples homes, and into their water supplies - nazi-like - so is the propaganda to support its use!

  59. 1080 may well be a hormone disruptor.
    Are you waiting until that is proven before you will advocate against the indiscriminate use of this poison?

  60. In regard to 1080 "not being an endocrine disruptor", as mentioned by Thomas, above ...

    It's not uncommon for those that support the use of 1080 in New Zealand, to quote assumptions as fact.

    ANDROGEN AND OESTROGEN RECEPTORS - (copy and paste to your browser) uses the usual jargon offered by the researchers that are funded by the 1080 industry to support its use in NZ - words like ... maybe, we think, perhaps, probably, we hope, we think, it is expected, it is most likely ... and on it goes!

    It's nonsense to quote research as evidence when it's based on assumptions, and wishful thinking.

    This is why New Zealand research has an ever increasing, diminishing credibility. (Is that an oxymoron?)

  61. Clyde - currently I see a place for aerial 1080 as one of the tools for conservation and TB eradication.

    Am I Nazi-like?

  62. Aaron, I'm not judging you. You are a person with a point of view, that may be different to mine, and I welcome that, like I do any another person. Cheers.

  63. If you appreciate differing views, why persist with the ridiculous Nazi analogy then?

    Do you still stand by your comment that I am opposed to democratic opposition?

  64. I still believe the aerial application of 1080 poison around peoples homes, their water sources, and the ignorant practice of allowing the poisoning of our wildlife, is a nazi-like practice.

    In the communities where these drops are taking place, the large majority of the residents are clearly opposed to the drops.

    The powerful minority - the money making bureaucracies - continue to push their draconian desires of using 1080 poison, at the expense of the affected communities well-being. It's not a democratic process.

  65. Clyde: I doubt that you will ever concede anything that has been presented to you by a scientist. The paper by Tremblay,Montpellier, France, about endocrine disruption of 1080 was specifically researched to check the repeated allegations made by some members of the public. The papers findings are very clear:
    "Neither 1080 nor fl uorocitrate had any
    effect on ER or AR binding with any of the bioassays employed."
    So why do you still not concede that this point is thankfully finally settled?

    Please stop trying to ride on the suffering of some 50 million victims of WWII and the Nazi horror. Making Nazi comparisons puts you into the same box as Hone! So please stop it its not helpful to further a civilized discussion.
    Plus I know many people who live in or around areas where effective pest control including 1080 has been used who state the recovery of native bird life as great and who have no problems whatsoever with the idea that 1080 is used to suppress predation.
    I am sure you do not want to be associated with either of these.

    Anyway, if and when an international panel of scientists has ever reviewed the 1080 use in NZ then we shall talk again. I hope you stick to your words to respect the outcome of such an inquiry but I predict that if its not coming down your way you wont.

  66. You should talk about Nazis next time you are on Radio NZ. Why didnt you discuss it on Poisoning Paradise? Cant understand why Peter Dunne doesn't use it more often too. Would have to be a sure vote-winner! LOL :)

  67. I look forward to that day, Thomas. And like you, I hope you respect their outcome.

  68. Hello All,

    Thomas, thank you for your review. Indeed, I can respect and empathize with the fact that you feel very strongly about the benefits and need for aerial poison drops.

    I do, however, have some major concerns about your review. It seems you’ve grossly misrepresent my work in the majority of your review! The first isssue is that nearly all of your main arguments are taken from elements of the paper which were very small portions and not related to the main theme at all. For instance -- the debate as to whether or not low levels of 1080 are harmful to health and/or are an endocrine disruptor – this was not part of any major argument in my work but it makes up about 1/3 of your critique. Nothing in my arguments hinges on the least on 1080 being toxic at low levels. Thanks for your additional refs on the subject and I will revisit this information regarding low levels of 1080 with a critical eye and make sure my work is up to date on the subject.

    Another major concern is that you have gone on for a long time (the last significant portion of your review) critiquing my discussion of the effects of 1080 on invertebrate POPULATIONS when the paper I focus on(Lloyd and McQueen 2000) clearly shows that the concentration of 1080 in LIVING invertebrates can easily kill an insectivorous bird at a fraction of its daily feeding ration. This was determined by chemical analysis of invertebrates after a 1080 drop and is hardly subjective or easily manipulated kind of data. Nowhere do I claim that 1080 has an effect on invertebrate populations. It isn't an issue I get into. Yet you go on for some time spouting references to contest a feature that wasn't even in my paper! Ooops!

    Finally, your review does not address any of the major concerns addressed by my paper: 1) DoC has openly misrepresented 1080 as a toxin selective to mammals (totally not true) AND 2) the bird species most at risk (omnivores and insectivores) remain the species least studied by competent means. These are main themes of ultimate importance.

    As for the cost-benefit analysis mentioned by Paul – yes indeed the cost-benefit comparison is very crude and it is mostly intended to just provide SOME kind of semi-quantified comparison between the two contentious situations of no possum control whatsoever or aerial 1080 drops. Please, seriously, with as openly objective mind as you can, go to the supposed cost-benefit analysis in Innes and Barker, NZ J Ecology, 1999 and look at their “cost-benefit analysis” as it is completely unfounded and obviously wholly biased and without any rational argument at all. In reality, a ecological network analysis (ENA) model of a New Zealand forest ecosystem, or some other kind of system model, should be created to obtain a qualitative assessment of ecosystem health with and without aerial 1080 or other poisons.

    This manuscript has been peer reviewed by Ecological Monographs and was rejected saying that it was inappropriate for the journal and needed to go into a biological conservation focused journal. I must significantly shorten the manuscript for another journal and am submitting it for another review when I return from a business trip to Europe in a week’s time. I will make sure that I take into account all of your comments, criticisms, and the most up-to-date academic information when reformulating this paper in short form for an international conservation journal.

    Ultimately, I agree most wholeheartedly with Clyde in his advocacy for an international peer review of aerial poison drops.

    Sincerely, Alexis Pietak

  69. "Possums aren't a predator of birds. That's another mis-leading, pro-1080 piece of propaganda.
    Until the staged photos were done at Ngamanu, it is reported that no-one had actually seen a rat attack a bird nest."

    Not quite right, again. The kokako recovery workers at Mapara and Rotoehu filmed both attaking nests and chicks in the early 1990s. (Kokko Recovery Plan includes some pictures, if you are at all interested, and there are more details in a paper in Notornis 40(3):169-177)

  70. It's hard to know what to believe in the research, Aaron, there's so much ambiguity, and mis-representing. This is one example ... "Predation at nests is virtually never observed
    (Major, 1991)". I guess that's when the researchers decided they had better prove it, I guess.

  71. You're misinterpreting Major's statement there I think. He's referring to the difficulty of catching the culprit in the act, not that nest predation is rare. As he says in his paper (always pays to read the original): "Nest predation is thought to be the prime cause of nest failure in most species but the culprit is rarely recorded." Modern technology certainly made this easier.

    The pictures from the early 1990s are freely available to the public.

  72. Nest predation may be the cause of bird nest failures, but scientists seem to be focusing on rats and possums, and totally ignoring predation by other species - native birds, for example - namely - falcon (which we have witnessed taking chicks from nests), more-pork (a known predator of birds), kea (which have been reported to attack kiwi nests), weka, pukeko (which we've seen taking chicks), and probably others.

    There's lots of reasons for failure - Nest failure is also a part of a healthy forest. If every kiwi chick survived, for example, there would be an imbalance. The kiwi lives for over 30 years, populations would grow too high. Nature sorts itself out, and does pretty well - without DoC fiddling around with it, overstating and exaggerating the issues.

    Possums rarely attack birds, or their nests, as has been clearly proven. The possum has been built up to be an open-chequebook for 1080 operations and budget share.

    Rats may be an issue, but poisoning the environment only increases their populations, as we both know. Rat populations are the fastest to recover after poison operations. Stoats, follow.
    Rats make up the biggest part of a stoat's diet, until the poisoning operations begin, that is. Then the stoats go for what's left of the bird populations.

    There's a balance in the forests - that have been left to adapt, as I have pointed out.
    We can take you to forests in this country that have never had aerial poisoning operations, and they are doing a lot better than the areas that have had repeated aerial 1080 drops. Has research been done into why this is? No, there's no money in it.

    Target the pest, if the pest is a problem. It's that simple, but It's ignorant to poison the entire ecosystem, claiming to save one species, while ignoring the rest, as DoC continue to promote and practice.

    An international, independent review into the use of 1080 poison will expose the truth, the poor quality of the research, and the absence of benefit.

  73. "You can have all the peer reviews and science you like - it comes down to who's funding it"

    Meant to raise this interesting point with you too. Just to be clear, you think we need to view and weigh statements not just on their merits but also in the light of who provided funds?

  74. “The population of "breeding pairs" from 4 to 17, isn't 10 fold! If that was the case.”

    That’s a good point, I agree, and I think the problem here is a mix of unclear language on the part of DOC and another small mistake in Poisoning Paradise.

    Firstly, there was a 4th aerial 1080 drop, after the period you outline in your doco. And there was also a significant amount of ground control between the first and last 1080 drops. What DOC need to make clear is that the recovery was begun by aerial 1080, and continued by a mix of aerial 1080 and ground control.

    What DOC say is correct, but not necessarily completely accurate.

    Good to see you are debating rate of increase though, not whether it occurred. Interestingly, within 8 years while the number of breeding pairs increased from 4 to 40, the equivalent of 9 more breeding pairs had also been taken to other sites.

    “The 2 minute inclusion of the Kokako study in the 2 hour documentary Poisoning Paradise, was not an error.”

    No doubt, as your doco describes it as DoC’s “flagship” study. It follows you would try and discredit it. You failed to do that.

    Your error is in the way the results are misrepresented and misinterpreted on Poisoning Paradise. Talking about total population ignored what was happening within the population.

    The tally of breeding pairs of Kokako at Mapara is publically available and clearly show an increase after aerial 1080 use. No doubt ground work helped; no doubt aerial 1080 started the process.

    This work was peer reviewed independently and published in a credible international journal. There is therefore at least one credible study showing a net benefit to a native species.

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  76. It seems to me as if the only person who can be accused of so called 'Nazi-like behaviour' would be the 'knight in shining armour', Clyde Graf. By discounting the studies that dont agree with his viewpoint, despite exhaustive crediations (i.e peer reviewing) is akin to the book burning techniques employed by the nationalist-socialist party of Germany! In fact, many good scientists reccomend 1080 as an anti pest tool to combat not only the erradication of our native species, but also the prevention of bovine TB; an issue that could cost the country billions of dollars. The fact that this point is not acknowledged indicates to me and other free thinking, intellegent people that Clyd has a narrow, unfair viewpoint that is only backed up by the ramblings of a biasd, stubborn, ill-informed man.

  77. Cameron - using comparisons to the Nazis and calling people ill-informed or implying that people you disagree with are not intelligent is schoolyard crap. You should stay out of the discussion if that is all you have to offer.