Effectiveness of 1080 proven

I have seen the results locally of the effectiveness of 1080 (alongside trapping) – far fewer possums, and noticeably more bird life.

Protesters go to sometimes extreme lengths (including death threats and threats of life threatening sabotage), but largely discredit themselves and fail to discredit the science surrounding 1080 and it’s use.

The Press editorial: Science beats superstition in the 1080 debate

New Zealand’s anti-1080 activists have not had a good year. A protest in September delivered a disastrous own goal when an autopsy revealed none of the native birds dramatically dumped on the steps of Parliament by protesters were killed in a 1080 drop. Causes of death included being struck by cars, hitting windows and, in the sad case of a weka, being shot, possibly with a .22 rifle.

The co-organiser of the Hikoi of a Poisoned Nation claims he was told by a scientist who had kept birds in a freezer for four years that 1080 was the cause of death. Whether the deceit was accidental or intended, it reflects poorly on a controversial movement that was already in the news over death threats made to the prime minister and to Department of Conservation (DOC) staff.

The anti-1080 movement has been dealt yet another blow this week with the release by DOC and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of numbers that show the overwhelming effectiveness of 1080 as a tool to combat possums, stoats and other pests that are ravaging the New Zealand environment.

DOC released figures on Wednesday following 1080 drops in Russell Forest and Rakaumangamanga/Cape Brett in Northland.

Using tracking tunnels to measure rat numbers, DOC found rats left tracks in 76 per cent of the 160 tunnels in Russell Forest before the aerial 1080 drop and in only one tunnel after the drop. Possum numbers at the same location fell from 79 per cent before the drop to 16 per cent.

At Rakaumangamanga/Cape Brett, rat numbers fell from 14 per cent to zero, mice from 17 per cent to zero and possums from 34.3 per cent to 4 per cent.

Impressive results.

The EPA’s summary of 1080 use across the country in 2017 also appeared this week. More than 875,000 hectares were treated, with the majority controlled by DOC and the remainder by TBfree and Timberland. The report describes a pest control regime that has also had a positive effect.

While native birds are the headline act, with yellowhead (mohua), blue duck (whio), kea, kākā, rock wren, south island robin, morepork (ruru), grey warbler, New Zealand falcon (kārearea) and kiwi all identified as improving, the 1080 drops also benefit long-tailed bats and plant species such as fuchsia, tōtara and kāmahi, along with domestic cattle and deer stock.

One of the reasons for using 1080 is to reduce the spread of bovine TB by possums (that’s what initiated the possum  control program in the West Harbour area that I live in.

But there is a darker side to the beliefs held by some in the anti-1080 camp. Not only do they spread misinformation and conspiracy theories and issue death threats, they have also risked the safety of 1080 operations and those who run them.

It was revealed this week a helicopter used for a 1080 drop in Northland in September was sabotaged, spilling 2000 litres of aviation fuel, which Forest and Bird say could have drained into nearby streams. That would have been an ironic side-effect for a movement that has agitated so noisily against the use of poisons.

Opponents of 1080 are a greater risk than 1080 is.

As for the environmental side effects, the tolerable exposure limit was not exceeded in any of the water catchment tests following the 1080 operations.

When it comes to the use of 1080 in New Zealand, science has won the war against superstition and fake news.

Benefits of 1080 use far outweigh any risks. In particular native birds and bats as well as native trees and bush benefit.

 

24 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 22, 2018

    Is it effective if you have to keep using it? Also the debate is not about whether it kills but about what and how it kills.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  December 22, 2018

      I thought the point was to reduce disease spreading pest numbers and help increase native wildlife.
      In both of those measures it is an unmitigated success story.
      I haven’t seen any evidence of 1080 adversely impacting non targeted wildlife or that it leaves any residual chemical trace behind.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 22, 2018

        Kiwi numbers have fallen in DoC forests and risen on private land up here. Hardly an endorsement for DoC management. Private landowners do not use 1080.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  December 22, 2018

          Not quite the same issue though is it?
          The Wiki page on NZ use goes through the alternatives and why they are unsuitable and in most cases detrimental to non-targeted species.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080_usage_in_New_Zealand

          Given NZ’s terrain, native species make up and the issues caused by introduced mammals 1080 is a complete slam dunk as the most effective pest control plan.

          It is a naturally occurring compound that biodegrades quickly and has no lasting impact in the soil or in water.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  December 22, 2018

            Since it has no lasting impact the plan is to keep dosing DoC’s 8 million hectare conservation estate in perpetuity?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 22, 2018

              Love it when a downtick is the only answer. 😎

    • Griff.

       /  December 22, 2018

      It kills mammals Alan
      We dont have any native land mammals in New Zealand besides bats .
      The introduced mammals kill our unique flora and fauna.
      If we dont predate the introduced species we lose our native ones. Keeping the numbers of mammals down by poison allows natives to thrive.
      I know what I care about and it ain’t Aussie tree fuckers and Norwegian ship rats.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  December 22, 2018

        In the end Darwin defeats God, Griff.

        • B-Rad

           /  December 22, 2018

          If you do not like 1080 then allow some genetic engineering. Within 10 years no possums no rabbits not rats if the scientists could fo what they want.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  December 22, 2018

            Really? What makes you think evolution is so easily defeated?

        • kluelis

           /  December 22, 2018

          @Alan Wilkinson “In the end Darwin defeats God, Griff” Not hard considering there is no God 🙂

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  December 22, 2018

            Some want to play Him, kluelis.

            • Gezza

               /  December 22, 2018

              I don’t; he sometimes comes up the stream to my place for advice on wet & stormy evenings. Me & him go way back.

  2. Zedd

     /  December 22, 2018

    Thursday (just passed) There were a group of 1080 protesters, writing large chalk messages, on the footpath outside the DnCC building. They say that it is ‘indiscriminate poisoning’ of all animals who may ingest the pellets. It can also leech into nearby waterways & get into the wider environment.

    It sounds like the debate about ‘Roundup’ herbicide/weedkiller; the manufacturers claim it breaks down, to become inert/harmless, BUT has this been confirmed, by ‘independent’ testing ???
    The debate goes on….. :/

    • High Flying Duck

       /  December 22, 2018

      Of course they have tested it – ad nauseum:

      1080 is highly soluble in water and dilutes quickly [1]
      Laboratory analysis can detect 1080 in water at concentrations as low as 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) [2]
      Research by NIWA showed that 1080 deliberately placed in small streams for testing was undetectable after only 8 hours [3]

      • Zedd

         /  December 22, 2018

        Yes… but for many decades they claimed that ‘Cannabis smoking caused Reefer madness & was a gateway to HARD DRUGS..’ now both of these claims are widely discredited !

        …. follow the money…. :/

        • kluelis

           /  December 22, 2018

          Oh like Batfink’s supersonic radar 🙂

        • High Flying Duck

           /  December 22, 2018

          Aaah, so we can ignore the results over many years and the independent testing because “reefer madness”. Goodo.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  December 22, 2018

      I may as well post the rest of that one:

      The maximum amount of 1080 residue allowed in drinking water by the Ministry of Health’s is 2.0 ppb.This has never been breached. [4]

      As an indication of how stringent this regulation is, at the 2.0ppb level a 60 kg person would need to drink: 60,000 litres of water for a lethal dose of 1080.

      Water is routinely monitored after aerial application of 1080 in New Zealand and water samples are collected immediately after application when there is the highest possibility of detecting contamination. [5]

      Of 2442 water samples tested by Landcare Research between 1990 and May 2010
      96.5% had no detectable 1080
      Of all the samples taken over 20 years only 6 were equal to, or above the Ministry of Health level for drinking water and none of these came from drinking water supplies. [6]

      Of 592 samples taken from human or stock drinking supplies, only four contained detectable 1080 residues at 0.1ppb (1 sample) and 0.2 ppb (3 samples) – all well below the Ministry of Health level of 2 ppb. [7]

      Trials show that any aquatic and land plants that uptake 1080 rapidly metabolised it within a week. [8]

      Trials in four West Coast streams using 10 times the number of 1080 baits that would be expected to enter streams during aerial treatment showed no detectable effect on aquatic life in streams. [9]

      In separate studies in the United States and New Zealand 100% of fish fed 1080 baits survived and showed no ill effects. [10]

      A study in which meat from a possum that had died from 1080 poison was fed to eels found that all of the eels survived and none became ill. [11]

      A NIWA study found that koura (native fresh water crayfish) that ate 1080 baits did not die and showed no ill effects.
      The same study revealed that an 85kg person would need to consume the tail meat of about 2800 koura in a single sitting to have a 50% chance of receiving a lethal dose. [12]

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 22, 2018

        Some people probably could.

        A woman in Hamilton says that toothpaste is poisonous. Which it is, of course, but I forget how much someone would have to eat in a single sitting. They’d probably be sick before they were poisoned.

  3. kluelis

     /  December 22, 2018

    Take 10,000 people from the tree planter project and give them rifles/shanghais flame throwers what ever is applicable. Now 20 possum kills per night per shooter = 200,000 possums dead per night. 1. mill per 5 night week (union rules) besides don’t want to upset an armed work force 🙂 . 52 mill kills per year. All done. All shooters will live in forest friendly designed huts with wifi of course) wear softly softly footwear, use silencers, and have a possum recovery/ processing unit attached. Each shooter will be sent the NRA monthly magazine to ensure complete gun safety procedures are followed to the letter. After eliminating possums the team will begin on rats/mice then stoats and ferrets and finally telemarketers 🙂
    At missions end we can send these trained snipers troops to Afghanistan or Timaru.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 22, 2018

      Excellent! And some prat downticked it already.

  4. Zedd

     /  December 22, 2018

    I still remember seeing a clip on TV (couple of decades ago) of a Exec. of Monsanto or Dupont (?) saying he would ‘gladly drink a glass of water, containing their ‘harmless’ products’. He was challenged to do so.. in front of the cameras. No points for guessing, IF he took up the challenge ?

    • Griff.

       /  December 22, 2018

      of a Exec. of Monsanto or Dupont (?) saying he would ‘gladly drink a glass of water, containing their ‘harmless’ products’.

      That was Patrick Moore well known crank.
      He is a lobbyist not an exec.