Are DoC manipulating Rat Numbers?
Are DoC manipulating Rat Numbers to satisy Propoganda Myth?
Ban 1080 Political Party co-leader Bill Wallace says there are serious rumours DoC has changed their rat counting technique to cover up the lack of the mythical “Rat Plague” claimed by the Department in Kahurangi National Park, and also that no rats at all have been recorded in upper beech forest and open tops.
Ban1080 understand that an Official Information Act request has been made to DoC for the rat data, and for the reasons for any changes to monitoring technique, but DoC have yet to respond with answers.
If the rumours are true, DoC are placing the nationally endangered kea and rock wren at huge additional risk right in the middle of their breeding season.
DoC’s tracking tunnel guide clearly states that “rodent tracking tunnel surveys are conducted over one night”.
But rumours suggest that during August in Kahurangi the blotting paper was left in the baited tunnels for 2 weeks, and staff flown back in later to collect the results. If this is true, and the 14 night figures are being used to compare with the single night results from May, then they would have no scientific value whatsoever claims Wallace.
If the rumour that no rats at all were recorded in upper beech forest and the open tops is true, and DoC still intend to aerially poison this kea and rock wren habitat with 1080 pellets, this would appear to be in breach of DoC’s own policy.
DoC’s latest June 2014 “DOC code of practice for aerial 1080 in kea habitat” has a standard which says “Within 6 months prior to the operation, the tracking index for rats is 20% or higher on 8 out of 10 transects monitored in the operational area”
In the absence of rats, the Code of Practice say mice and stoats should be monitored instead, but this is unlikely to have been done since August.
Kea are known to die from eating poisoned bait, significant numbers of radio tagged kea have died from eating poisoned baits as evidenced by the reported deaths in 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Rock wren are also endangered and are at risk of secondary poisoning from poisoned insects, and no studies have ever been done to assess the risk of by kill.