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Why is there an argument over 1080?

Why is there an argument over 1080?

For decades New Zealand has been racked by arguments over the widespread use of aerial 1080 poison.

Both sides of the argument are supported by intelligent and committed conservationists so why can’t consensus be found when both sides care deeply about the birds and the forests.

The answer lies in what the opposing parties expect the outcomes from the aerial poisoning operations to be.

Each side is looking at different results.

A poison operation will reduce rats for less than a year but that is enough time for individual bird to breed and fledge young without serious rat predation.

This is what the pro-poison groups applaud.

In the following years a rat population explosion caused by the poisoning operation reduces bird nesting success and the overall bird population as a whole does not increase, or even decreases, under rat predation pressure. This is what the anti-poison groups wring their hands over.

Science tells us that aerial 1080 operations breed rats, lot of rats, and rats eat birds, lots of them.

When rats are poisoned so are their predators but the rats prodigious breeding ability allow them to overwhelm any predator population and rat populations explode with consequent severe impacts on native species.

One pair of rats can produce one million offspring in a single year.

Poison operations to limit rat populations actually create conditions where poisoned areas have a higher average rat population than un-poisoned areas which is exactly the opposite of what is expected.

For decades the Department of Conservation has ignored the science that aerial 1080 operations do not have the positive benefits for bird populations as claimed.

The reason for this is probably the funding stream of $35 000 000 annually they receive for pest control operations. They are not going to turn their back on that.

Murray Dench

21/05/14

Full paper: V3_Why_is_there_an_argument_over_1080_in_PDF.pdf

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