Guest Post by Carol Sawyer
OUR MINISTER OF CONSERVATION IS A WORRY, IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE – NO WONDER THE EEL LOOKS TERRIFIED
A Minister of Conservation should know at least something about the creatures she is killing, (like whether they are insects or molluscs) and, on other issues, if she can’t do arithmetic she has an army of advisers to assist.
Not only does she think that our Giant Land Snails/ Powelliphanta are insects (which have legs), not molluscs ( Debate on 207/18 Annual Reviews – Environment Sector, Parliament), but it seems she hasn’t a clue how much pure 1080 poison is in a 1080 bait or what the dropping rates of her favourite predator control “tool” are !! By HER calculations, one hectare of 1080 baits, dropped at the standard rate, would poison 7,300 adult men, killing half of them !!
On Friday, May 17, 2019, at an event called ” Kai and Conversations with Eugenie Sage, Minister of Conservation”, two questions were answered on 1080 poison.
“More 1080 is planned to be used this year than ever before. At what point is New Zealand using too much 1080 poison or how much 1080 poison use is too much ??” – Joel Lund
“How much longer do you think 1080 will be used as a means of pest eradication?“ – Jane Scheib
The two questions were not actually addressed by Sage, but in her evasive response she said “The amount of 1080 that is used now is about a teaspoon of toxin over an area the size of a tenniscourt so the levels of application have significantly reduced in the last 2-3 decades “ ” (Joel Lund of Wanaka was there and wrote down her statement verbatim.)
The problem with this answer is that one teaspoon is 5 gms, and just 35 mgs can kill a 70 kg man. (1)
1080 poison baits contain 0.15% pure 1080, so by Eugenie Sage’s reckoning, a tenniscourt of 1080 baits, at current standard dropping rates, would contain 277 x 12 gm baits, which would contain enough pure 1080 to poison 143 adult men, killing half of them.
Blimey !!! I think she got a few facts wrong there.
In fact at the commonly aerially dropped rate of 2kgs 1080 baits per ha, that equates to approximately 3.26 x 12 gm baits per tennis court, not 277 ! That’s still enough to kill almost two adult men, but not 70 adult men!
The awful thing about Eugenie’s statement is that she obviously thought one teaspoon of 1080 toxin was a minuscule amount, when it is complete overkill ( excuse the pun ), and also she imagines that this is a reduced figure compared to the past. Oh dear !
(1)ACP Ltd use an LD50 of 0.7 to 2 mgs kg/BW, but based on fatal or near-fatal cases of human poisonings, the dangerous dose ( LD50) for humans is 0.5-2.0 mg/kg BW (Negherbon 1959)