The Department of Conservation is concerned factual information about kiwi deaths in the Tongariro Forest has been inaccurately portrayed by anti-1080 campaigners.
A media statement released yesterday by anti-1080 campaigner Clyde Graf linked biodegradable 1080 with the death of 89 kiwi in the Tongariro Forest Kiwi Sanctuary over the past five years.
The release, titled “89 Dead Kiwi – 1080 clearly not working” selectively quoted information provided by DOC and claimed that 1080 drops in the forest had failed to protect kiwi.
It also suggested the biodegradable toxin itself could be responsible for the kiwi deaths.
However DOC says the release fails to point out that 1080 – which breaks down naturally in soil within weeks – was last used in the forest sanctuary almost four months before the first recorded kiwi death.
“We know that kiwi are at very low risk from 1080. DOC has monitored more than 280 kiwi both through and after aerial 1080 operations – some for well over a year – and we have never lost a single bird to 1080.” said Dr. Avi Holzapfel, DOC’s Kiwi Recovery Group Leader.
“Claiming that the data shows that 1080 does not control predators is equally misleading. Only about half the deaths could be linked to predation, and the majority of these were chicks killed by stoats in years when 1080 was not used”
“Mr Graf fails to point out that chick survival in this forest more than doubled in each of the two years after the last 1080 operation in 2006 when stoat numbers were very low, compared to years without 1080.”
“Rather than claiming that ongoing predation shows that our pest control is not working, Mr Graf should have put more focus on the fact that predator control at Tongariro has resulted in many more kiwi surviving than would have otherwise. Claiming that 1080 has failed because some kiwi are still being killed by predators is like saying that an emergency department in a hospital is failing because it can not save everyone.
Dr. Holzapfel acknowledges the impact ferrets have on adult birds, with more than 10 adult kiwi having been killed by these predators. “We are learning that ferrets in particular are a significant threat to adult kiwi, and we are adjusting our management to protect birds against this emerging threat. It demonstrates the many pressures kiwi are facing in the wild. But it is extremely misleading to suggest 1080 has somehow played a role in these deaths.”
Full details of the information provided to Mr Graf