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1080 an effective tool to protect native wildlife

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

30 July 2008 Media Release
1080 an effective tool to protect native wildlife

Aerial 1080 remains an effective tool for protecting New Zealand’s native wildlife, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said today.

“I was saddened to learn that seven kea recently died during a 1080 operation, but I am pleased that the Department of Conservation (DOC) initiated the research as part of its commitment to continual improvement,” Steve Chadwick said.

Twenty-nine kea were exposed to 1080 baits as part of DOC research during three aerial 1080 operations and survivorship varied greatly between the different operations.

“DOC constantly reviews its biodiversity operations, to take into account new information and improve overall outcomes. This research on keas is an example of DOC’s cautious and responsible approach to pest management.”

Steve Chadwick said that the small sample size meant that further study is necessary to accurately measure the impacts.

“What today’s critics are overlooking is that we only know about these deaths because DOC itself has decided to monitor the impact of 1080 operation on kea. DOC wanted to find out if there was a problem with 1080 use in kea areas, and will now make adjustments to its 1080 practice to manage those impacts.

“There is no need for an independent inquiry into the use of DOC pest control methods and in particular 1080, as ERMA undertook a comprehensive, independent review of 1080, completed just last year, and concluded that the benefits outweigh the risks.”

“The major threat to most of our native plants and animals comes from predators such as possums, stoats and rats. DOC studies show that 40 per cent of kea nests are being destroyed by possums and other predators, so controlling these predators will benefit kea, as well as the other native species these operations are designed to protect.

“Aerial 1080 offers the best control of these pests in New Zealand’s rugged terrain, and without it we could not eliminate bovine tuberculosis, or protect our forests and wildlife.

“The use of 1080 is only one tool amongst a number used in pest control operations, but it is one of the most effective.”

ENDS

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