Anger at DOC's Cavalier attitude to Kea Deaths
An anti-1080 lobby group Te Whare O Kaitiaki Ngahere is angry at the indifference of the Department of Conservation to kea and other native bird deaths from 1080 poisoning.
The comment follows the group's withdrawal from seeking a declaration through the Environment Court against the Minister and the Director General of Conservation. The Environment Court was unable to make the declaration against the Minister and the Department of Conservation made it clear to the Court that it does not view kea killing as a serious matter or one which concerns the New Zealand public said spokesperson Mary Molloy of Harihari, West Coast.
Shona Bradley, representing the Conservation Department in the Environment Court implied there was not “a genuinely held and wide-spread concern for the killing of such birds”.
Mr. Hunt and Mrs. Molloy representing Te Whare O Kaitiaki Ngahere, were surprised and angered by the statement they termed "ridiculous."
"On the other hand, we are not surprised the Department should want our wildlife viewed so casually. It seems government is trying to sweep bird deaths under the carpet since many aerial 1080 drops are carried out over public land by both the Department and the Animal Health Board," said Mary Molloy.
Kea numbers are estimated at between 1,000 to 5,000 and the rate of kill from 1080 has been up to 77% of monitored birds and particularly in open areas or low shrub land – preferred feeding areas she said.
The last kea kill in North Okarito was after the baits had been reformulated to make them less attractive to kea and all roads and tracks were being cleared by Department staff before the rotor blades had stopped moving.
"It is clear that 1080 must not be used in kea habitat. Indeed it poses a risk to not only kea but many birds especially falcons, moreporks, tomtits, robins as well as killing invertebrates such as insects, worms and others."
The fact that a poisoned insect or bird remains toxic and deadly to a bird preying on it in its deah throes, seems to escape DOC who are entrusted by law as guardians of native birds and the public estate."
Mary Molloy said that the Minister and Director General of Conservation can not be held accountable for these unacceptable losses of indigenous bird life was "absolutely scandalous."
Te Whare O Kaitiaki Ngahere intend seeking other remedies to make the killers of these kea responsible she added.