Growing Public Opposition to DOC’s “Full of Lies” Aerial 1080 Poison

Special Report

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Comments from the public, among them scientists, on an outdoor recreation website about the Department of Conservation’s pro-1080 poison policy and programme

indicate growing opposition to the department’s large poison drops currently taking place.

Scientist Dr. Jo Pollard said the Department of Conservation (DoC) had attempted to justify the extensive use of the poison.

“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, “ she said. 

The experiments involve tying radio transmitter equipment to hundreds of birds and interfering intensely and repeatedly with hundreds of nests, along with invasive sampling even taking blood samples and pulling out feathers, even from young chicks. 

Dr Pollard said 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.” 

Kea Killed

The fact is that 50 percent or more of kea populations are often killed in 1080 drops, and DoC has no shred of evidence to justify the culling, or the deaths of the rest of the wildlife, that have largely gone unmonitored. For over 10 years DoC’ has tried to put kea off eating bait.  

“DoC has made wholly unjustified claims that the public cause kea to eat the baits and 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,” said Dr Pollard.

Her comments and numerous other comments followed the publishing on the Council of Outdoor Recreation Association’s website  of an article in which  an experienced outdoorsman Lewis Hore of Oamaru pout the blame for the decline and now endangered status of kea, on the Department of Conservation.

An outdoorsman with a lifetime of experience of the outdoors including regular visits to Fiordland, blamed the decline of the native kea on 1080 poison, spread over large areas of the South island’s wilderness by the Department of Conservation for anti-predator campaigns and by a State Owned Enterprise OSPRI for bovine tuberculosis control. 


Lewis Hore 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,” he said. 

“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”. 

“Silly” DoC

Lewis Hore said Josh Kemp was correct about “silly people” a description which applied to DoC which keeps aerially dowsing kea habitat with toxic 1080 poison every year.

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. “

Kea Now Endangered

Other comments by viewers of the article on the Council of Outdoor Recreation Association’s website showed deepening public concern and anger.

One comment said Kea, once were so abundant. Once kea even had a bounty on their head. But they are now endangered, the decline setting in after 1987, when DoC was formed and the mega drops of 1080 was let loose on the environment.” 

Another said it is “unbelievable DoC is using a toxic poison that the rest of the world has banned, I just shake my head in amazement at the tens of million dollars of taxpayers money being wasted.” Yet another referred to “DoC and the rest of the poisoning industry as full of lies.”

Among the responses was “humans are the greatest danger to Kea, with the 1080 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.”

Editor’s Note: The original article and viewers’ comments can be seen at 

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4 Responses to Growing Public Opposition to DOC’s “Full of Lies” Aerial 1080 Poison

  1. J B Smith says:

    What a good summary of the precarious position kea are in. Every MP should read it and realise DoC doesn’t need more funding. Instead DoC should stop dowsing the South Island with 1080, spending public money on devastating the ecosystem and killing species like the kea.

  2. HONEST DAVE says:

    The Dept of Corruption ( DOC ),like the ex-Forest Service, had a basket full of
    scenarios that justified their continued use of 1080 poison to control nasty
    critters that attacked their precious trees. They ALL resulted in another bundle of $’s
    to help rid the forests of these naughty critters( and purchase a few new flash 4WD’s) Unfortunately the aerial 1080 drops
    ( being an extremely toxic insecticide) killed EVERYTHING that ingested it directly
    secondarily by eating something that was killed by the 1080, like fantails eating insects,
    bats eating under forest floor litter dead or nearly dead worms & beetles etc, kea eating ( anything edible) like nice green dyed baits that contain cinnamon,glucose, seeds
    etc.) Much tastier that door rubbers & windscreen wiper blades!!!!

    IF possums are REALLY to blame (????) for decimating our native forests?? Then we have to wonder how our bush adapted to millions of years of Moa browsing, before the naughty ( supposedly native) natives killed them all.?? The moa browsed our bush to the point where the Haast Eagle ( biggest in the world) could fly freely thru without hitting branches . Read our friend Bill Benfield’s book “The 3rd Wave”.

    Anyone who has been into an aerial dropped 1080 area after a drop immediately notices HOW BLOODY QUIET EVERYTHING IS!!!! No birds,no bugs & in the summer time NO FLIES !!!! THAT TELLS YOU SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT, EH????

    1080 in bait stations- no problem with that at all. STOP KILLING EVERYTHING ELSE. Including our freshwater inhabitants. Dept of “Conservation” ?? What a joke.
    More like Dept of “Constipation”= Full-of-shit !!!!!

  3. Bud jones JonesQSM says:

    As always, follow the money trail back to view all the hands in the cookie jar benefitting from this poison the land &wildlife industry. Jobs livelihoods reputations, manufacturing, distribution & all related spin offs has a hand in keeping this obscene money go round operating,fueled by the tax payer.

  4. Joe says:

    How come the DoC continually say they are having excellent results in saving our endangered birds through the massive poisoning programs using 1080 poison and the Kea Conservation Trust need more money to save the kea, Bud Jones might be on the money with his comments “ follow the money”

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