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1080 tampering in Featherston area

1080 tampering in Featherston area

Trampers, hunters and members of the public walking on the pylon track between Kaitoke and Featherston in the Tararua Forest Park are warned to take care in case they come across 1080 bait that appears to have been deliberately placed on the track.

Greater Wellington Regional Council, the Medical Officer of Health, Department of Conservation and Police are investigating the unauthorised movement of 1080 bait and warning signs onto the Pylon Track, from a possum control operation over four kilometres away.

“The movement of bait and warning signs onto a public track appears to be deliberate,” said Greater Wellington’s manager of biosecurity Wayne O’Donnell. “We have checked the Global Positioning System (GPS) records of the helicopter that dropped bait in the nearby operation, and it is clear that it is impossible for the bait to have got on the pylon track from this operation. Add to that the movement of stolen DoC and Greater Wellington warning signs to the area, and it appears this is a deliberate attempt by someone to create the impression that the bait was officially spread outside the publicised control zone.”

Mr O’Donnell urged whoever is responsible for this to stop tampering with the poison. “1080 is very safe when used in controlled operations, and when the public knows where the bait has been laid. When bait is moved outside controlled areas it puts public health and safety at risk, and also endangers pets and livestock.” Mr O’Donnell said that police had been advised of the bait tampering, and that tramping clubs and hunting clubs would be advised today. Mr O’Donnell said that Greater Wellington biosecurity staff had removed about 20 baits from the pylon track. “As soon as we became aware of a potential problem we sent staff into the area to investigate, but we have no way of knowing if any more bait has been moved and where it might have been placed.” Recent operations in Upper Hutt, Kaitoke and the Wairarapa have been successfully carried out with no public health or safety problems. GPS navigation is used on all helicopter operations enabling very accurate recording of the location where bait is distributed. 1080 quickly breaks down following rainfall, and provided the public follows health and safety warnings the chance of any problems is extremely low.

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