Investigation into Fiordland rat bait incident
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionDOC has launched an investigation after a pod containing rat poison fell from a helicopter operating on a remote Fiordland Island yesterday.
Date: 25 June 2010
The Department of Conservation has launched an investigation after a pod containing rat poison fell from a helicopter operating on a remote Fiordland Island yesterday.
A storage pod containing about 700 kilograms of cereal bait pellets laced with the rat poison brodifacoum broke free from a helicopter leaving Anchor Island during a routine pest eradication operation on a neighbouring island.
The pod was seen to land in a large freshwater lake in the middle of Anchor Island.
The operation was brought to a halt. Extra DOC staff were dispatched to the island to locate the pod and search the immediate vicinity for any sign of bait.
“The initial ground search indicated that all the bait fell directly into a nearby lake” said DOC’s area manager for Te Anau Reg Kemper.
Kakapo are present on Anchor Island. “We have identified those birds at risk and have removed them to a secure location” Mr Kemper said.
Mr Kemper says the rat bait brodifacoum is commonly used by the Department in off shore island eradication programmes. It breaks down slowly, binding with organic matter to settle out in sediment.
Mr Kemper says an ongoing investigation, including water sampling, is underway to assess the impact on the lake environment and to prevent any further risks.
The cause of the incident is yet to be determined.
DOC has notified Environment Southland and the Medical Officer of Health and Mr Kemper says a full investigation of the operation is underway.
Mr Kemper says the baiting operation has been postponed until all inquiries are completed.
Te Anau Area Manager
+61 3 249 0227 or +61 27 248 5860