Experienced Outdoorsman Lays Blame for Kea Decline on DoC

An outdoorsman with a lifetime of experience of the outdoors including regular visits to Fiordland, has blamed the decline of the native kea on 1080 poison, spread over large areas of wilderness by the Department of Conservation for anti-predator campaigns and by a State Owned Enterprise OSPRI for bovine tuberculosis control. Lewis Hore of Oamaru was responding to media articles calling for more funding to protect kea. “It seems bizarre and therefore difficult to comprehend that while the Kea Conservation Trust say they need more funds to protect kea, the Department of Conservation (DoC) continually says the use of 1080 poison which it regularly applies to the kea’s habitat is saving them,” he said. Reference in the article blaming tourists and others for killing kea by feeding the mountain parrot, “human” food was also bizarre. “It’s illogical and crazy,” said Lewis Hore. “Adding to the tangled web, DoC is regularly feeding kea with high protein non-toxic baits made with pollard to get predators and kea used to feeding on them. Then a few weeks later the pollard baits are loaded with 1080 poison. After all isn’t that a case of DoC humans feeding them human food?” He said DoC’s scientist Josh Kemp referred to as a “kea specialist” had said “if we can’t save the kea it will be because of people, not predators. It will be because people were obstructive, narrow minded or just silly”. “He’s correct about it being silly people so long as DoC keeps aerially dowsing kea habitat with toxic 1080 poison every year,” commented Lewis Hore. In 2011 ten kea were fitted with radio transmitters prior to a 1080 drop at North Okarito, seven out of the 10 kea were poisoned. “That’s a 70% kill of kea. There are many more cases of kea deaths from 1080 poison. No wonder the kea is in serious decline under the onslaught of a toxic ecosystem poison.” Lewis Hore said it mattered not how much money is given to the right hand to aid the survival of kea. “ There is no hope for them while the left hand (DoC)is given massive amounts of public money for the continued use of 1080 poison classified as an indiscriminate super toxin. “

Lewis Hore – “bizarre goings on over kea decline”

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15 Responses to Experienced Outdoorsman Lays Blame for Kea Decline on DoC

  1. Frank Henry says:

    Is it coincidence that the kea once abundant – Kea even had a bounty on their head – is now endangered, the decline setting in after 1987, when DoC was formed and the mega drops of 1080 was let loose on the environment? Well said, Lewis Hore.

  2. PB says:

    Matukituki case and point, DOC killed half of the monitored birds after a drop, what does that say for the un-monitored population?
    What about the gene pool that gets wiped out across all species of birds?
    1080 has its place, but dont drop it where birdlife is abundant.
    Maybe don’t drop it on the tops where Kea roam, keep it under the canopy where the Kea are less likely to discover it.
    Blaming the Kea deaths on lead nails and tourists feeding them is horse shit and they know it.

    • Lewis says:

      Kea are found from alpine areas through the bush to the coast. Stoat traps were set above the bush line at Haast but kea were caught so they were moved the traps into the bush but the found them.

  3. Tony Ibbotson says:

    Unbelievable not just kea a whole wild animal protein industry doc is trying to
    Wipe out with a toxic poison that the rest of the world has banned,
    I have been making a living for 50 years from export to domestic sales
    I’m now 73 and just shake my head in amazement at 10s of millions taxpayers money being wasted

  4. George says:

    Well said Lewis.
    Of the few countries that use 1080 NZ is the largest user whilst revealingly its use is banned in most other countries even including the USA where it is made. There is one manufacturer of baits in Wanganui which converts the raw product imported from the USA. Sodium fluoroacetate is an indiscriminate killer. Its victims experience a most unpleasant death and besides killing ‘untargeted’ species with actual aerial poison drops, pre bait feeding must greatly increase this untargeted kill rate.

  5. Roger Belcher says:

    Kaharangi has just been poisoned again last week .this last twelve months over 300,000 hectares had 1080 .since 2014 approximately 15,000 ton of 1080 has been applied to kaharangi and it has made any difference to rat numbers . Possum are gone so are deer. Kea kiwi and all bird numbers should have exploded since 2014 because of DOCs poison program .the healthy river is treated every year with exactly the same result no increase in any bird numbers. DOC you have had a ten year free run and actually achieved nothing except kill off native birds .

  6. Chris Windley says:

    Josh Kemp, the DOC scientist, mentioned in the article, along with Graeme Elliot, did a study in the late 1990’s, at Arthur’s Pass, and the study’s conclusion was that Kea are not in danger of predation by pests. Humans are the greatest danger to Kea, with the poison campaign, and to blame lead head nails and interaction with humans is a load of bollocks, and shows the contempt that DOC holds for the general public, as they think we are fools and believe them They should be in jail for the harm they are doing to our flora, fauna and environment in general.

  7. Jo says:

    Well said Lewis! DoC and the rest of the poisoning industry are full of lies, that are and have been readily demonstrated. The general public seem to think DoC is a nice organisation and like to believe in them – which takes far less effort than considering the facts.

  8. Barry Eaton says:

    In the Pearse valley before the 2014 1080 drop, there were 6 Kea that lived and played with us when walking in the forest. After the drop there was only 2. Funny enough there was a Kea nest found in a culvert so they closed the whole forest to the public and the Kea has not been seen since. Unbelievable!

  9. For years Doc has wasted vast amounts of money and time on ridiculous, meaningless experiments on kea, designed to “prove” that predators are a problem for them, thereby attempting to justify the poisoning of whole landscapes.
    The experiments involve tying radio equipment to hundreds of birds and interfering intensely and repeatedly with hundreds of nests, along with invasive sampling (taking blood and pulling out feathers, even from young chicks).
    The results are actually the opposite of what DoC has tried to create: even the most harassed kea nests rarely suffer from stoat interference. This is consistent with scientists’ previous observations that neither the largely vegetarian possum, nor the stoat (whose preferred food is rats, and they do a good job of keeping them under control when things are left alone) are of any threat whatsoever to kea.
    The fact is that 50% or more of kea populations are often killed in 1080 drops, and DoC has no shred of evidence to justify this culling, or the deaths of the rest of the wildlife (that have largely gone unmonitored). DoC’s 10+ years of trying to put kea off eating bait, and wholly unjustified claims that the public cause kea to eat the baits, have just piled more junk science onto their pile of garbage. It is long past time that these “public servants” were made accountable for their lies and vandalism.

  10. Paul says:

    A creditable helicopter pilot told me not long ago that kea numbers west of the main divide in Fiordland are very good but areas east have little to no kea present where 1080 has been dropped. The Wapiti area is more proof as kea numbers are very good there too according to the Kea Conservation Trust, and no 1080 has ever been dropped in that area.
    I rest my case.

    • Roger Belcher says:

      On our thousands of helicopter flights whilst engage in waro many Kea followed us around in the kaharangi area they visited me while gutting deer and stayed at gut heaps and carcasses whilst deer were ferried out.they picked and feed off many parts of the gut heaps and carcasses. If they were left over night which was regular livers were almost destroyed by Kea. So why wouldnt they eat 1080 carcasses. Deer rat possum all become prime food for Kea after a1080 drop. Proof is after 2014 very few deer possum left in karharangi or Kea we no longer see them in our trips .it’s not only the pellets they eat the main killer is toxic carcasses. By they way DOC teaches Kea to eat carcasses. It’s time the truth was exposed and these people whom only have one concern there bank account were also exposed.As for rats and stoates isn’t it printed on DOC fact sheets that feed ie beech seed makes them breed .as per there cycle map ramed down our throats .we’ll isn’t shot goats thar and deer in there culls feed.and tons of it if you believe there numbers .10,000 goats approx 100ton of meat for rats and stoates to feed on alone. So we have one office killing stoates the other feeding them .Go figure

  11. Lewis says:

    Another of my experiences with kea was when possuming in a valley at Murchison many years ago was kea destroyed 10 to 15% of skins by pecking holes in them, a year or two later it was poisoned with 1080, on a tramping trip a few years later not a solitary kea was heard and only a couple of years ago returned for another trip never heard a solitary kea and yes the 1080 poison warning signs were in place at the huts. How the DoC can claim success after poisoning fails me.

  12. Adam Craig says:

    There are large populations of kea where 1080 has been consistently used, as at Moeraki. Without good predator control (stoats and possums) kea are not going to survive. They are ground nesters and these predators easily get into their nests.

    • Bill says:

      How come Adam is it after reading the comments above that you believe 1080 is saving kea the fact is it is killing them plenty of DoC research shows that.
      Why is it Adam you don’t understand predator-prey relationships. Rats have been in NZ for a couple of hundred years or more. The predator prey relationships was well embedded and predators and prey was in balance until DoC came along withs its mass poisoning programs and completely upset the whole natural system.
      There are several Landcare Research studies that show after 80-85% of rats are poisoned the remaining ones breed back to four times their original numbers in around three years. Stoats prey predominantly on rats so there is a surge in stoat numbers, hence the continual use of 1080. In years to come DoC MIGHT? wake up to the fact they are destroying an ecosystem that would have sorted itself out naturally but unfortunately by then kea will be gone.

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