Ruahine Rat Explosion Caused by DoC

Department of Conservation reports of a rat explosion in the Northern Ruahine Ranges defy credibility and show the department was “out of its depth” in wilderness management according to a sporting hunters’ organisation.

Laurie Collins spokesman for the Sporting Hunters Conservation Outdoor Trust (SCHOT) said research had shown that following aerial drops of 1080 poison, the 20 percent surviving rats with much reduced food competition exploded in numbers. He cited Ruscoe’s research in 2008 “Interaction of Mammalian Pest Populations following Control” that showed rats recover quickly and increase quickly so within 18 months rat numbers would be two to three times greater than before poisoning operations.

“What has happened was entirely predictable based on research. There was a 1080 drop in 2017 in the Northern Ruahines and that’s exactly what is happening now, thanks to DOC’s 1080 drop in 2017,” said Laurie Collins of Westport, who worked on the first use of 1080 in New Zealand and in subsequent pest work.

“DOC had admitted as much by its own recent monitoring but doesn’t comprehend why.”

The last 1080 drop in the Ruahines took place in November 2017, which saw DOC’s rat tracking go from 11 per cent in June 2017 to 1 per cent following the 1080 drop, stay relatively low until August 2018, and then climb to 27 per cent in February before a big jump in May.

“It was entirely predictable and rat numbers will continue to soar – according to research – and in three to four years reach three to four times pre-poison numbers,” he said. “It’s ecological ignorance and stupidity.”

Laurie Collins said the damage caused by DOC’s 2017 poison drop would continue along the food chain, as stoats whose main prey was rats, suddenly had a “smorgasbord” of food and consequently exploded in numbers.

“So DOC by its 2017 poison drop has stimulated rat and stoat explosions and caused ecological mayhem,” he said.

Contact: Laurie Collins, 03 782 8647

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