1080 Poison Damage Overwhelmingly Costly to Native Creatures

Special report

A Canadian scientist Dr Alexis Pietak says New Zealand’s use of 1080 poison in its war against “pests” is doing extreme damage to the ecosystem and native wildlife species from birds to insects and other creatures.

Her research and conclusions was first published in 2011 and was recently located by the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ). 

In her paper titled “A Critical Look at Aerial-Dropped, Poison-Laced Food in New Zealand’s Forest Ecosystems” Dr Pietak said a cost-benefit analysis revealed the damage to native species was enormous.  

“This cost-benefit analysis, which compared the potential costs and benefits to native species of aerial poison operations versus unchecked possum populations at their peak density, indicated that aerial poison operations have twice as many potential costs to native species as potential benefits, and that aerial poison operations were potentially twice as costly to native species as unmanaged possum populations at their peak density.”

The government agencies appeared to use dubious assumptions from selectively used science.

“The relevant science has been selectively interpreted, selectively studied, and moreover, left grossly incomplete in its scope, possibly in favour of non- environmental, short-term economic interests,” said Dr. Pietak.

Each year, New Zealand aerially distributes massive quantities of acutely lethal, poison- laced foodstuffs into its wilderness 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 she said.

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.  

However Dr. Pietak challenged the claim.

“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,” she said.

Alexis Pietak – “Government agencies appeared to us
dubious assumptions from selectively used science.”
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7 Responses to 1080 Poison Damage Overwhelmingly Costly to Native Creatures

  1. Stewart Hydes says:

    Dr Pietak is simply scientifically backing up what anybody with half a brain can figure out pretty intuitively for themselves.
    And what countless observations by people who spend significant time in the back country have reported.
    How can spreading thousands of tonnes of a WHO Class 1A ecotoxin be ANYTHING BUT “a serious issue worthy of international concern and immediate action”?
    Especially, when it is applied indiscriminately, across millions of hectares of otherwise pristine bush and back country .. aerially, by helicopter .. including getting it into all of the creeks and rivers (in direct contravention of the manufacturer’s warning not to do so) .. and not removing the poisoned carcasses (again, in direct contravention of the manufacturer’s warning).
    There are so many anomalies in what government agencies and their accomplices tell us they base their Aerial 1080 application on.
    For example – one minute, they tell us Kea don’t eat 1080 baits .. then they are telling us poisoned carcasses lying around are not a risk to birds like Kea, Kārearea (Native Falcon), and Ruru (Morepork), because they don’t eat carrion .. then they are telling us Kea have been observed eating 1080 Prefeed Baits .. then they are leaving piles of culled Tahr lying around, so the Kea eat that, and leave the 1080 baits alone .. and all the while, populations of Kea are plummeting .. and DOC continue to blame lead head nails, and people feeding Kea (which teaches them to eat strange foods, like 1080 baits).
    Goebbels himself would be proud .. he told us if you repeat a big enough lie often enough it becomes the truth.
    And that is exactly where we are at, with Aerial 1080.
    The poor ole New Zealand public didn’t stand a chance.
    For heavens sake, we can even see that government agencies and their accomplices appear to have convinced themselves that their lies are true!!! …

  2. Teddy Roosterveldt says:

    I do wish that one of our main political parties ( ACT, I’m looking at you) would come out and say they recognize the terrible damage 1080 does to our native wildlife. Such deadly eco toxins should have no place in a country that supposedly cares for its environment but, sadly, we all now know it’s not about the environment it’s about the money and the jobs.

  3. J.D. says:

    Yes it would be great to seer ACT or NZ First come out against 1080. All the evidence is DOC and OSPRI’s attempts to justify dropping tonnes of poison on public lands is worthless. In 2016 Ag minister Nathan Guy admitted 9830 possums stomachs were analysed with not one (zero) having bovine TB. While OSPRI uses a flaky skin test on cattle with its 30% error rate, TB will always be present. In anycase NZ is way below the yardstick the WHO sets for a country to be declared TB free.
    As for DOC there’s so much science that shows the lies. Two or three studies showed no bird/egg remains in possum stomachs. Yet DOC calls possums predators. They are herbivores. Other studies show rats benefit from 1080 as 4 years later the prolific super breeders being rats, have exploded numerically and are 3-4 times original numbers.
    Dr Pietak is so correct.

  4. "Sika" says:

    NZ First were opposed to 1080. At a recent past election I heard Winston Peters say that.

  5. Lewis Hore says:

    What I can’t understand is the DoC are saying on one hand 1080 poison is saving our birds and on the other they are saying some of our birds are on the endangered list, kiwi are declining at 2% a year and at that rate will be extinct in a few decades, kea are definitely on the endangered list and will be history if this poison is continued to be used.

  6. Paul Peychers says:

    It would certainly be great to see ACT take up this challenge. Looks to be in the too hard basket for everyone else unfortunately. Let’s see what happens after the election.

  7. L A. says:

    In answer to JD, NZ First campaigned on the getting rid of 1080 two elections ago then Winston got rid of Richard Prosser who put in a huge amount of work into it and we heard nothing more about 1080 from NZ First.

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