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.

One thought 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.

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