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DOC calls in police after alleged vehicle tampering


29 September 2017

DOC calls in police after alleged vehicle tampering


The Department of Conservation has laid complaints with police after several incidents of alleged vehicle tampering in the past few weeks.

There have been three cases where wheel nuts were allegedly loosened on DOC, private and contractor’s vehicles in two different regions.

In the most serious case, a contractor’s wheel came off while he was driving, and jammed in the wheel housing.

DOC Director-General Lou Sanson says it is fortunate that no one was hurt by these events, which were potentially very dangerous. Each incident has been reported to the police.

“We take any threats to DOC staff very seriously and are working with the police to find those responsible.”

DOC has put measures in place to protect our staff and contractors and is being vigilant in checking all vehicles before use. We have asked contractors to do the same.

“I believe the activity is designed to intimidate DOC and OSPRI workers and disrupt aerial 1080 pest control operations,” he says, “although not all vehicles targeted were being used to support operations.”

The Department has also informed police of one case where 1080 baits were left in a letterbox at a DOC address.

“People have a right to lawful protest, but I will not tolerate anyone putting my staff at risk as they go about their job of protecting our precious wildlife,” he says.

DOC urges anyone to contact NZ Police with relevant information or call Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 to report information anonymously.

Lou Sanson says the Battle for our Birds programme is well underway, as planned and is vital to protect vulnerable native species like kiwi, kākā, kea and whio from predators.

This year’s programme of aerial 1080 and ground-based predator control will protect our most at-risk populations of birds, bats, frogs, lizards and giant snails as well as native forests over more than 750,000 hectares of priority conservation areas.

Aerial 1080 is the most effective large-scale pest control tool we currently have and our monitoring shows it’s successful in protecting vulnerable species and allowing birds to produce more chicks to sustain and build their populations.

Battle for our Birds predator control is critical to DOC’s goals of protecting threatened species and working towards making New Zealand predator free by 2050.

OSPRI undertakes aerial 1080 operations as part of their TBfree pest control programme, which also benefits wildlife.

–Ends–

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