Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Dead Rats on West Coast Beach Probably Toxic 1080 Carcasses

Dead Rats on West Coast Beach Probably Toxic 1080 Carcasses

Dead rats found on beaches near the mouth of the Buller River near Westport were almost certainly 1080 killed rodents, despite Department of Conservation denials says a trout fishing advocacy the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA)

NZFFA president Dr Peter Trolove, a retired veterinarian, said the rats most probably came from a 1080 drop in the Maruia valley, a tributary of the Buller. On November 2 and 3, 2019 the Department of Conservation aerially sowed approximately 140 tons of 1080 baits over nearly 70,000 ha of the upper Maruia and Grey catchments he said.

On 9 and10 November, after a heavy rainfall, over 700 dead rats, a weka, a goat, and a number of black petrels and bottom feeding marine fish washed up on a Westport beach 140 km from the start of the Maruia valley operation. Because of 1080’s secondary poisoning characteristic, every carcass may remain toxic, a danger to wildlife, people and their dogs.

“The operation covered the section of the Maruia River from the Lewis Pass to below the Maruia settlement. The Maruia River joins the Buller River below Murchison which in turn flows into the sea at Westport,’ said Dr Trolove.

However on 20 November DOC issued a press release stating that toxicology on 8 dead rats and a weka had shown no presence of 1080. Two rats were too decomposed to test. The veterinary school at Massey reported cause of death unknown after the post-mortem examination of five of the rats and the weka.

In the press release, DOC West Coast Operations Director, Mark Davies said the results confirmed that rats washed up on the beach were unlikely to have come from an area where 1080 has been used.

The Federation had long made searching scrutiny of 1080 relative to rivers and trout said Dr Trolove. Fishing groups expressed concerns that dead mice which were often eaten by trout could carry 1080 thus posing a health risk.

“This is a valid concern as trout are relatively tolerant of 1080 poison and could carry quite high levels of 1080 in their flesh, yet show no ill effects,” he said.

Dr Trolove questioned the credibility of DOC’s denial that 1080 was involved in the rats deaths.

He listed a number of issues that called DOC’s press release into question:-

• The timing of these events

• DOC’s failure to test for flurocitrate, the toxic metabolite left in the muscle of poisoned animals. Ian Shaw, a toxicologist, criticized DOC for only testing for Sodium fluoroacetate).

• Photographs in local newspapers and on Facebook show images of decomposing rats, largely devoid of hair, with bloated or water logged carcases. Such carcases would have been totally unsuitable for post-mortem examination

• DOC and MPI have “a bit of an each way bet” on the persistence of 1080 in tissues – apparently sheep are safe to eat 10 days after subclinical exposure and trout are safe to eat 7 days after the aerial application of 1080 poison over a catchment. Some state sponsored papers record 1080 persisting in carcasses and dumps for months. Others find it is rapidly broken down in water by microbial action. “I doubt there has been any controlled studies attempted on tumbled decomposing water logged rat carcasses.”

• The flight paths of the helicopters passed over the many side streams running down into the Maruia River valley. How much of the 140 tons of the 1080 pellets washed down to the sea?

“With the likelihood that DOC has inadvertently poisoned the entire catchment of one of the South Islands longer river systems, DOC’s underwhelming response and fanciful explanations are simply not good enough,” said Dr Trolove.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell : On Dealing With Impeccable, Impeachable Lies

By now, the end game the Republican Senate majority has in mind in their setting of the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is pretty clear to everyone: first deny the Democrats the ability to call witnesses and offer evidence, and then derisively dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. For his part, does former security adviser John Bolton really, really want to testify against his former boss? If there was any competing faction within the Republican Party, there might be some point for Bolton in doing so – but there isn’t. More>>

Published on Werewolf


WINZ Quarterly Report: More People Getting Into Work

The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off,” Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said. More>>


Changing lives: Boost In Whānau Ora Funding

Whānau throughout New Zealand are set to benefit from an extra three million dollars that will go directly to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, the Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare announced today. More>>


PGF Kaikōura $10.88M: Boost In Tourism & Business

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. More>>


Whitebaiting: Govt Plans To Protect Announced

With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve management of whitebait across New Zealand. More>>


Education: Resource For Schools On Climate Change

New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change... More>>


In Effect April: New Regulations For Local Medicinal Cannabis

Minister of Health Dr David Clark says new regulations will allow local cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products that will potentially help ease the pain of thousands of people. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On What An Inquiry Might Look Like

Presumably, if there is to be a ministerial inquiry (at the very least) into the Whakaari/White Island disaster, it will need to be a joint ministerial inquiry. That’s because the relevant areas of responsibility seem to be so deeply interwoven... More>>






InfoPages News Channels