Opinion by Neil Hayes – QSM CEnv (Chartered Environmentalist)
Below is a piece I wrote some time ago but sadly the Department of Conservation (DOC) has got worse since then.
Contrary to what the department’s scientist Dr Elliott would have the public believe, the Department’s aerial bombardment of 1080 is a very serious environmental disaster, but it is also by far the most successful propaganda campaign ever to take place in New Zealand (and possibly the World!).
In fact many believe that DOC’s 1080 propaganda makes the work of Dr Joseph Goebbels look rank amateurish as the DOC programme has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the elimination of predators. It is simply a billion dollar business for these reasons:
- There are now very few possums and only 0.004% carry Bovine TB
- 1080 has little effect on feral cats, ferret, stoat or weasel numbers – all of which can carry Bovine TB
- 1080 has little effect on rat numbers (DOC’s mythical annual ‘explosion’ of rat numbers in areas that have been aerially bombarded with 1080 on numerous occasions confirms that the DOC 1080 programme is all about money, because there is still an abundance of rats!
- 1080 has little effect on hedgehog numbers
- The movement of domestic cattle is mainly responsible for the spread of Bovine TB
- It is a billion dollar industry that is now totally out of control
The DOC programme has so far:
- Eliminated over 10,000 domestic animals
- Pushed already endangered birds closer towards extinction, with over 10,000 Kea being killed by 1080 in the past five years
- Has pushed two of the world’s rarest species of frogs closer towards extinction
- Has contaminated rivers, lakes and town water supplies
- Has eliminated invertebrates in creeks, streams and rivers
- Has poisoned fresh-water trout, thereby destroying a major part of our tourism industry
- Has cost New Zealand tax-payers several billion dollars!
- Has eliminated millions of endemic bush birds and in areas where the poison has been dropped the BUSH IS SILENT
DOC’s 1080 programme has nothing whatever to do with eliminating predators – all of which are readily eliminated by trapping and reside only in the forest fringes.
Editor’s Note: Research has shown that following 1080 aerial drops, the exceptionally prolifically breeding rats are reduced by 80% but the surviving 20% with abundant
food, explode in numbers. Within four years rat numbers are 3 to 4 times original numbers. DOC has simply achieved stimulating a super rat explosion. Stoats that prey on rats then undergo a population explosion.