Pre-feeding Prelude to DOC 1080 drop Wakatipu areaon

by Peter Newport  (abridged) – Nov 08, 2023 published by CRUX, an issues and action focussed local news site for Queenstown, Wanaka and Central Otago.

Crux has discovered the mission of multiple helicopters that flew over Queenstown early yesterday morning (November 7). It turns out the choppers were on their way to a predator control operation in the Fiordland National Park. 

The helicopters were being operated by HeliOtago out of Dunedin and their pilots were disappointed the Department of Conservation had not done a better job of letting residents know what was happening.

“We are just the contractors,” one of the pilots told Crux today. “As far as we were concerned we were just on our way to work.” 

HeliOtago boss Graeme Gale confirmed to Crux it was up to DOC to inform the public about the operation.

When asked by Crux, DOC released this statement:

“The helicopters seen near Queenstown on Tuesday morning relate to DOC’s work to protect vulnerable native species such as kea, kākā and rock wren from predators like stoats, possums and rats in the Hollyford Valley in Fiordland National Park. Helicopters are used in DOC’s predator control operations to help control introduced predators by aerially applying biodegradable bait pellets.

“This is a vital part of DOC’s work programme to save vulnerable species from predation. Without protection, we risk losing the unique natural heritage and biodiversity within Fiordland National Park.

“The first stage of this operation, which involved applying non-toxic bait pellets as pre-feed, took place yesterday (7 November).

“The operation went ahead successfully, and the next phase is scheduled to take place in the next good weather window, a minimum of 5 days out from the pre-feed phase. This next phase will include the application of biodegradable bait pellets containing 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) to target rats, stoats, and possums.”

Crux has asked DOC if they can be a bit more liberal with their notifications in future. 

Crux would also like to acknowledge the great work that the HeliOtago pilots do for the community, especially as operators of our medical/rescue helicopters that link the tiny Lakes District Hospital with both Invercargill and Dunedin.


A FlightRadar24 screenshot of some of the helicopters flying into the Greenstone Valley yesterday morning after overflying Queenstown suburbs.

Footnote: For full article see 

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2 Responses to Pre-feeding Prelude to DOC 1080 drop Wakatipu areaon

  1. Jim Hilton Batchelor Science Hons Biology 1971 says:

    The DoC scientists who support these crazy helicopter poisoning of our flora and fauna in our National Parks must have been asleep when they were students. There have been countless studies of how predators like stoats affect their prey. They simply kill a “doomed surplus” which would die of other causes anyway if the predators did not make a meal of them. The reproductive potential of our native birds and all species for that matter is huge. Once a species gets to “carrying capacity” there is simply not enough food and space for them. But Government employees whose jobs depend on convincing politicians that they are actually doing something useful don’t let the truth get in the way of their jobs. The constant propaganda about saving rare birds is sickening. Birds eat the poison laced baits too. Our Alpine parrot, the Kea is close to extinction because of aerial 1080. Please contact the new Ministers of Conservation and Agriculture and ask them to get the “Yes Minister” politics out of Conservation and Agriculture. 1080 is NOT biodegradable, it simply dilutes and keeps killing, animals, birds, frogs, lizards, insects. It’s just insanity.
    Independent science shows 1080 is NOT saving our native species.
    Properly conducted surveys show that 92.5 % of people do not want 1080 poison from aircraft or ground laid. Does Government know about such surveys?
    If they do they ignore them. Please contact our new MP’s.

  2. Lew says:

    Chucking a super toxin around Willy Nilly and saying it’s saving our endangered species defies all logic.

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