12 Dec 2021

Nine kea and a dog killed after 1080 drops last year

1:57 pm on 12 December 2021

Nine kea and a dog were killed as the result of three different 1080 aerial drop operations last year.

The 1080 drop in the Russell State Forest began over the weekend.

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

The Environmental Protection Authority has published its 2020 report into 1080 use in New Zealand.

There were 31 aerial operations - 13 less than 2019.

Of these operations, 16 were commissioned by DOC to protect threatened native plants and wildlife from possums, rats, and other introduced pests. Six were undertaken as part of the TBfree programme to target possums, which can pass on bovine tuberculosis to farmed cattle and deer.

More details on the confirmed incidents in which non-target species were harmed were published in the report.

Six kea were killed during one operation and three during another. The report said DOC had further activities planned to reduce risk to kea in the future - including encouraging people not to feed kea, which can promote scrounging behaviour and put them at risk when 1080 bait is dropped in their habitats.

In the other confirmed case, a dog died after it escaped into a treatment area after an operation. It was found that the operator had taken all appropriate measures to reduce the risk.

Intelligence and reporting manager Brian Ruiterman said the poison was still the most viable pest management tool.

"It is essential to ensure that risks to non-target species are managed and mitigated effectively and steps should continue to be taken to avoid any incidents of non-target impacts", he said

Ruiterman said there were advances in planning and technology that should better enable 1080 risk management.

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