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DOC Accused of Scaremongering Over Deer Release

DOC Accused of Irresponsible Scaremongering Over Deer Release

The Department of Conservation has been accused of “scare mongering” in claiming people opposed to the department’s widespread and growing use of 1080 poison had threatened to release sika deer in north Taranaki.

Laurie Collins of the West Coast and spokesman for the Sporting Hunters’ Outdoor Trust, was responding to statements by DoC’s CEO Lou Sanson and supported by the NZ Deerstalkers’ Association that the threat to release animals was “eco-terrorism”.

Sika deer which were released about 1900 in the Taupo area were a prized game animal because of their elusiveness and challenge. DOC’s director general Lou Sanson said the sika species was confined to the Kaimanawa Range, east of state highway one.

Laurie Collins said the DOC statements seemed another attempt to smear the integrity of the growing number of New Zealanders opposed to the department’s policy of dropping more 1080.

It was relevant to recall the 2015 scare over a threat made to contaminate baby infant formula with 1080 when the department accused hunters of the wrong doing. The accusation was totally false and it turned out to be a businessman employed in the “poison industry” seeking financial gain.
Laurie Collins said DOC’s director general Sanson seemed out of touch with reality as from several reliable reports, sika deer have been present in Taranaki for many years, probably due to natural spread.

“Contrary to DOC’s claim, sika deer have been present east of state highway on the southern slopes of Mt Ruapehu for decades. In the 1970s sika deer were known to be present in the headwaters of the Wanganui River. From there it is a short distance for sika to filter through to Taranaki,” he explained. “Other reliable independent reports indicate sika were present in north Taranaki in the 1980s - 30 years ago.”

Laurie Collins who began his working career in the 1950s, with the Forest Service on the first use of 1080 poison in New Zealand, said based on his first hand experience, he was strongly opposed to the ecosystem poison which affected all wild life from invertebrates to birds and animals,.

“The scare mongering by DOC and strangely supported by the NZ Deerstalkers Association is irresponsible.”

Sika deer were not the “bogey threat” to vegetation which DOC painted and browsing by deer was considered to be a general replica of browsing by millions of moas and other birds over millions of years, he said.

“We intend to take this matter up with the respective Ministers of Conservation and Environment in the new government,” said Laurie Collins.

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