*Pic: North Egmont Visitors Centre: 100% Pure Taranaki roadblock protest. (Pic courtesy of 100% Pure Taranaki)
Penelope Marshall, Tasmania:
For Tasmanians It is hard to get your head around the absolute quantities of this Category 1 poison New Zealand uses to exterminate its introduced mammals. Each and every year. Astonishingly the Kiwis use 1.5 to 2 grams of sodium fluoroacetate (Compound 1080) in each kilogram of cereal baits and they spread it over hundreds of thousands of forests by chopper at a rate of 2 kg per hectare; that’s 3 to 4 grams of 1080 for each poisoned hectare! And they do it year after year!
By contrast although we use the same poison to kill our native marsupials we use it at strength 11.5 less than used in NZ. Tasmania uses a rate of 0.014%. The Tasmanian newspaper The Mercury reported (August 8, 2016) that ” The number of permits issued in Tasmania for the use of 1080 poision has risen more than 50 per cent over the past three years with the amount of poison used rising by one-third.
The number of permits issued climbed from 29 in 2012-2013 to more than 45 in 2015-2016, while the amount of poison dispatched increased from 1.21kg to 1.62kg.” ( Mercury HERE ).
Helicopters visible from the main road. Covers to keep heavy frost off the bubbles. (Pic Jim Hilton.)
Bait trucks loaded. May be the Pre-bait false feed. (Pic Jim Hilton)
Chopper ute support. (Pic Jim Hilton)
About 20 k north of Murchison, 1 ½ hrs. easy drive south of Nelson. Tbfree / OSPRI, West Coast Regional Council (WCRC) Vector Control Services (VCS) & Mt Hutt Helicopters. (Pic Neville Reilly)
These photos were taken at 8.30am earlier this week. They have a security guard at the farm gate.
There seems to be a race to see who can dump the most poison at the fastest rate before widespread public opposition outlaws aerial poisoning to the history books.
New Zealand’s largest and most unpopular Government backed poisoning agency was first off the blocks in the South Island with its helicopter poisonings this year.
TBfree / OSPRI started dropping non-toxic pre bait near the main road, twenty kilometres north of the town of Murchison on Sunday 7 August.
TBfree and New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DoC) are working together to try and poison over 300,000 hectares in the northern South Island this winter. They plan at least six separate “operations” in and around Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks.
The photos above are from the first operation, Matiri, 41,100 hectares of native forests north of the Buller River. At two kilogram of poison bait per hectare, that’s about eight tons of poison baits being dropped this week.
The forests of the West Coast have been poisoned on and off since the 1960’s with the areas poisoned getting larger all the time. They have been successful in reducing Australian possum and deer populations to very low levels.
Unfortunately native wildlife, especially birds eat the baits too. West Coast forests, once famous for their abundant birdlife are now very quiet. The obvious culprit is 1080 poison but vested interests have selective hearing and there is Government pressure to keep the poison industry rolling.
Public opposition is likely to be tough. Veteran activist Peter Lusk of Westport says that he is prepared to get arrested in his attempts to rally Public opposition to the poisonings.
There were picket lines in the North Island last week protesting about 1080 poisonings in the Taranaki province and more are planned for the South
Serious doubts about the Government science, which is used to justify the aerial poisonings, has been raised in Parliament over the last 18 months.
Questions asked under New Zealand’s Official Information Act by NZ First MP Richard Prosser, still remain unanswered by the relevant Departments.
It is clear that the aerial poisoning of animals classified as pests by the New Zealand government is politically motivated.
The science does not stack up.
Government poisoning is commercially driven.
*Jim Hilton is a retired wildlife biologist. He is part of a large network of kiwis that are working hard to have the aerial poisoning of wildlife on public lands banned. BSc Hons in Zoology and Botany from Canterbury University. He majored in Wildlife Biology, Population Ecology, Animal Behaviour, Plant Ecology, Genetics.
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