Why does New Zealand need to use 1080?

Why does New Zealand need to use 1080?

New Zealand’s unique native species are in crisis. Despite small local gains, the overall situation is getting worse.

We have lost 43 species of birds in the last 800 years since human settlement. Rats and dogs arrived with Māori and the list of introduced predators has grown since European settlement to include other species of rats, stoats, weasels, ferrets, possums, hedgehogs, and cats.

Today, 80% of our birds, 88% of our lizards and 100% of our frogs are threatened with extinction. In the 1970s, brown kiwi occupied 26% of forest area, but by the early 2000s this was down to 12% and we are losing 2% of the kiwi population each year. North Island kokako were found in 9% of forests in the 1970s but now it is just 2%.

Where there is regular pest control, these species are all doing well. However, most forests are not receiving regular pest control and in these areas time is running out.

Why can’t other pest control methods be used?

Different predator control methods all have their place, but 1080 is the only cost effective control method for large and remote tracts of forest. Hunting, trapping and ground baiting operations are only effective in some situations. These methods are labour-intensive, expensive and effective only over relatively small areas where there is good access.

Even in these areas, well-managed trapping and ground baiting operations can be overwhelmed by natural events such as beech seed masting events which lead to huge increases in predator numbers. But well-managed aerial 1080 operations can reduce possum and rat numbers by more than 95% over large areas of rugged and inaccessible country.

10 thoughts on “Why does New Zealand need to use 1080?

  1. Hey guys, just a heads-up from a person that has had some years of 1080 application experience. To say a year ago, that 1080 is the only cost-effective way of protecting vulnerable birds from the ravages of rats and/or other predators such as stoats and weasels, is simply not true, it just repeats DOC rhetoric. It is factually provable as an incorrect statement (at least in part), Let me explain… DOC apparently wants everyone to believe that (for which reasons of breivity doesn’t allow me to go into here), and you, by repeating that claim, are just blindly following without critical thinking…But if you examine DOC’s own figures, they demonstrate that in many, if not most cases, this not the case….For instance on easier country, DOC’s own figure done some years ago, showed ground control is approx 3x less expensive (than 1080), rising to about 3x more on really steep rough thick bush country. It is not known which ground control methods DOC used to get these figures but the dates suggest that it was traditional trapping systems with high labour input. Ground control has come along way since. (To draw an analogy the difference between an incandesant bulb and an LED bulb of 11 x less power is almost exactly the same with trap sytems, and their relationship to labour input.. Thats because of new technology rat & stoat traps (there’s also a possum model) that are auto resetting kill traps that only need 6 month visits to refuel and rebait., (Goodnature traps, made right here in Wellington NZ at the rate of 3000 traps a week going all over the world to counties that won’t use 1080 (which is approx counties 189 out of 190) I won’t go much further into the 1080 debate except to say that as a pest controller, 1080 spread aerially, does not tick ANY box except that it kills everything, and that ground control provides a much better enhancement of bird populations because it safely achieves better predator control (ie ongoing), doesn’t cause the post 1080 rat plagues (measured by Wendy Ruscoe DOC 2006) and doesn’t kill any birds in the process (Average approx 25% 1080 by-kill, figures derived from transmitter wearing birds that are autopsied for cause of death).
    I invite you to come to a place of understanding about what’s really happening and suggest you won’t find it in self-serving DOC data which is a nationwide embarrassment.

  2. Just a heads up about Owen Williamson. He is a persistent anti 1080 activist who trolls the internet and posts well refuted anti1080 missinformation and propaganda ad auseam. He is wilfully ignorant of the accepted scientific research and monitoring and seeks to mislead the public by cherrypicking scientific data that fits his own personal bias He consistently and wilfully ignores the conclusions of any peer reviewed research if it doesn’t fit his biased viewpoint. He actively promotes ridiculous conspiracy theories and slanders DOC continuously online. He believes that DOC is paying to “doctor” and silence any research on the subject of 1080 and pest control that may be seen by the public to be negative. He also promotes the idea that 1080 based pest management is some kind of profit generating corruption perpetrated on the tax payers of New Zealand by DOC and the government. As an individual who has tertiary qualifications in Ecology I would highly recommend that you view any opinion aired by Mr Owen Williamson as highly suspect and should be ignored.

    • Thank you Warwick, will keep that in mind lol… Any info you have on Doc or 1080 even the info which im dealing with ? Go Slow, mainly in the far north but have heard of it in Rotorua…

  3. Further reading for people who wish to inform themselves about 1080 and its use as a pest control method in NZ. Reputable scientific data and reports can be easily accessed by visiting the website 1080 the facts. It is a joint initiative between Federated Farms and Forest and Bird. There is a good deal of data and information in easily accessible formats. There are links to relevant peer reviewed monitoring and scientific research papers.
    Please steer away from the websites 1080science and Rangitiki Environmental Health Watch. They are a purveyors of misinformation, propaganda, pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. A final word about Owen Williamson’s post. His claim of a overal 25% bykill when 1080 is used is not supported by any monitoring data. He has cherrypicked a subset of data and has made the spurious claim that it applies across all operations. When you read the reports you will see there is very little, if any, bykill in 1080 operations today. Any small loses of native birds are far outweighed by breeding success. One example of this success is the Mangatutu Ecological Area east of Te Kuiti. Since 1989 the Kokako population in the area grew by an outstanding 700% following four 1080 drops.

  4. Warwick:

    That may be all well and true. But you’re not dealing with robots. You cannot force cold, hard digits down people’s throats, or slap some graphs in front of them, and hope that they’ll change. That’s where science falls short.

    Science says: if XYZ% of people are wiped off the face of the earth, XYZ% of natural places will see XYZ% increase in flora/fauna. “And? Who are you to tell me how many kids I can have, you smug prick?”

    Science says: if XYZ% emmissions are reduced, XYZ% will happen. “And? You want me to give up my shiny ute that I’ve spent the last year saving for? Piss off!”

    Science says: if XYZ% of the population cease buying smartphones and consuming hamburgers, planet earth and all of humanity will plunge into a state of eternal bliss in XYZ amount of time. “And? I love my burgers. And I love Facebook. Take a hike!”

    Science says: XYZ% of aerial poison, will help increase XYZ% of bird life. “And? I’m a possumer. I’d rather see more possums than XYZ species of bird.”

    This is where science takes a bow, and human desires, values and beliefs shuffle into the spotlight.

    It’s about compromise. It’s about understanding that everybody has a different idea of what the ‘ideal’ environment consists of. It’s no secret that both Forest & Bird, and Federated Farmers have an agenda. Because we all have an agenda. Every single one of us.

    Until DOC can demonstrate that they’re actually interested in consulting with the public in an open and transparent manner, in order to fulfil their DUTY of managing the environment to serve the COLLECTIVE interests and needs of ALL New Zealanders – suspision and hostility will linger.

    The recent Tahr cull situation is a classic example. The high court deemed DOC’s actions unlawful.

  5. AJ
    Your reply is just a ridiculous nonsense.
    You do not speak for the majority of people who want to conserve the native flora and fauna of New Zealand.
    The recent court case only upheld one aspect of the Tahr Foundation case. That DoC didn’t do enough consultation with hunters. The courts upheld DOCs lawful duty to cull Tahr to agreed levels. The scientific research was also reviewed and was endorsed by the courts. You might want to inform yourself rather than spout nonsense.

  6. – Wayne Linklater says:

    23/07/2020 at 11:48 am

    Warwick’s point is worth greater discussion. Others also make it below.
    The argument is that we don’t have time to do the right thing by other people, enter into respectful negotiations towards a compromise and solution, because we are trying to save species from extinction. The negotiations will take too long and the compromise itself might mean that some species are still lost.

    The argument and those who make it rely on two propositions:
    1. the situation is so dire that we must act now to avoid catastrophe: i.e., its alarmist.
    2. my views and values are right and more important than other peoples’ and so I don’t need to reach a compromise with them: i.e., it is arrogant.

    Neither of these is true. Species, mostly, go extinct gradually over the course of many human generations. We have time to get conservation actions right in ways that serve our wider community not just the opinions of a few. And, conservationists will have greater impact and success in the longer-term if they work with other people who share this great country. Sustained, successful conservation is more likely if it has ‘buy-in’ from a greater diversity of New Zealanders.

    The current thinking by Warwick and others below just drives greater disagreement and conflict and opinion polarisation, instead of solutions.

  7. Warwick,

    You’re welcome to disagree, but don’t be so rude.

    I wasn’t taking a shot at you or your stance on conservation. I was merely pointing out that a compromise has to be made somewhere because there are many interest groups in this country, each with their own ideas of what an ‘ideal’ environment should be.

    I was also making the point that if DOC wish to promote better cooperation between various interest groups, then it is imperative that they taker proper consultation more seriously. It’s about building trust and respect.

    There is definitely a small minority in this country who are environmentally conscious and practice what they preach. But I believe the ‘majority of people’ in this country are ignorant – in the sense that their collective actions are incongruous with their ‘adopted’ environmental beliefs.

    Take a look around you. Do people look overly concerned about the natural world? Or is it only when they have ‘conservation’ rammed down their throats on the television that they feel a tinge of guilt and, perhaps just momentarily, try and acquit themselves of it by hopping onto the green bandwagon. “Save the birds”, they’ll chime. “Let’s cut down our carbon footprint”. Next minute they’re hopping into their gas-guzzling 4X4’s, and driving home to their materialistic little lives. Do these people actually give a sh*t about the birds?

    I don’t have much of a carbon footprint. I don’t own a car. All my possessions fit inside a backpack. Most of my time is spent in the country or the bush. But despite my great love for our wild places I’m not naïve enough to expect the majority of people in this country to follow suite. The irony is that some of the most vocal supporters of environmental initiatives are the ones who are living the most environmentally destructive lives.

    Fortunately, as society struggles to come to a compromise, nature will continue to adapt…as it has done since time immemorial.

  8. @Shane Hyde,

    I agree. Compromise is the only way forward.

    As for extinction – it’s a function of the natural world. Whether humans have a ‘responsibility’ to maintain the environment depends on one’s perspective: are we stewards of the land, or are we on an equal footing with all other living things (survival of the fittest)? The status quo seems to suggest the latter. Perhaps our existence isn’t meant to be sustainable.

    Re: conservation in NZ….

    In my mind, the best solution is to have a little bit of everything. I.e Maintain special sanctuaries for the tourists and naturalists who can’t bare the thought of introduced species mixing with our pure, indigenous wildlife. And outside of these sanctuaries, business can continue as usual – where people can choose to control introduced species; hunt them for recreation or sport; or simply admire them for what they are.

    A major anxiety many hunters face is: give an inch, and they’ll take a mile. Eradicate the possums and rats (good luck with that), and what’s next – the tahr, chamois, deer, pigs, hares? Without our game animals, there’ll be one less avenue available to aspiring outdoorsmen/women. Many devout conservationists started off as hunters…

    The fewer avenues there are for people to set foot outdoors, the fewer environmentally conscious people we will have in society. How is that a good thing?

    Furthermore – do we actually want a ‘solution’, or is the Predator Free campaign simply a means unto itself? There are many thousands of people across the country making good money from killing ‘pests’. They enjoy the work and the lifestyle.

    We accuse our pests of being a cancer on our environment, yet through killing them, we’re producing jobs, pumping up the economy, polluting the atmosphere, and fueling our consumer culture (which in and of itself is doing our environment no favors). The irony?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *