Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Endangered Takahe - in danger of secondary poisoning

Takahe - Photo - Denise Burdett
The takahe is one of New Zealand's most endangered birds. For years, authorities believed the birds were primarily herbivorous, but that changed when a group of school children, while on a class trip to Zealandia last week, filmed one of the birds eating a duckling.

This comes as quite a surprise, and given the amount of poison aerially dropped across New Zealand forests, it also comes as a concern. Poisons like 1080 cause secondary poisoning, and can kill not only the direct victim, but also the next feeder up the food chain.

Information supplied by Martin Foote reveals that a research paper conducted in 1959 states that ...
1) Takahe have been known to kill and eat chicks, rats (a target of poisoning campaigns) and guinea pigs.
2) Takahe have learned to eat introduced plants.
3) Takahe chicks are 100% protein eaters during the first stage of their lives.

There are 1000's of organisms living in New Zealand forests that are not yet formally described. How many other endangered species are there being exposed to poisonous food chains?
This takahe incident is another example of how irresponsible and potentially harmful the use of aerially applied 1080 poisonous food, dropped directly into forest ecosystems from aircraft, really is.

To view the video of the Takahe eating the duckling, click here.

To view a documentary on the use of 1080 poison in New Zealand, click here.

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