Friday, June 25, 2010

rat poison and birds = a big no no

Spilling rat poison from a helicopter into a lake on an island sanctuary for our most protected parrot - the kakapo. Horror story? James Bond unlikely scenario number 205?

From The ODT
"A 700kg load of rat poison has fallen from a helicopter on to Fiordland's Anchor Island, a safe haven for endangered kakapo.
A storage pod full of brodifacoum cereal pellet baits fell from a helicopter yesterday and landed in the large freshwater lake on the 1300ha island in Dusky Sound, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said.
Eight hectares of land surrounding the lake has been searched and no pellets have been found.
"Anchor Island is home to endangered kakapo and the immediate response of DOC staff on the ground was to ensure the birds were not at any risk," Ms Wilkinson said.
"Two kakapo in the vicinity of the lake have been removed to another island as a precaution. It is highly likely all the poisoned baits landed in the lake.
"Brodificaum does break down in water and DOC will continuously monitor the lake over the coming weeks to judge what, if any, ecological impact the spill has had."
Whatever caused this whether human or mechanical error - someone should be held responsible - imagine if under this type of scenario ALL the kakapo were killed. The time to stop that happening is BEFORE it happens. Tighten up and sort this out.


Anonymous said...

What kind of ridiculous policy would make it possible for someone to accidentally drop 700 kg of rat poison from a helicopter into a lake inside of a National Park? It is a travesty of "conservation" that such mistakes are even possible. The people who are poisoning this country's land and water need to be stopped. I can understand poisoning small areas within designated bird sanctuaries, but for nature's sake, 1080, brodifacoum and cyanide should be banned in New Zealand's National Parks. The Department of Conservation is required to conserve functioning ecosystems, not just a few special species. If DoC refuses to understand even basic principles of ecosystem-based management, then the important responsibility of of conserving New Zealand's wilderness should be reallocated.

robert guyton said...

I leapt on the same story this morning marty. It's bigger than the papers have indicated and 'anonymous' has put his/her finger on it. I refer to the 1080 connection and the ramifications over on my blog and am waiting for the tutae to hit the (helicopter rotor) fan when people realise what this could mean.

robertguyton said...

Wierd 'word verification' coincidence there!
"Moleta" is the name of the family I stayed with when I lived on D'Urville Island back in the day!

Mike said...

I'll be interested to see what comes out of the investigation about how it happened. Here's the informal DOC line via their blog, which was posted there about 15 minutes ago.

Mike said...

To add a little, without more information I can't comment on responsibility for this incident or what the consequence should be. Someone obviously screwed up to some extent, and maybe it was a stupid mistake or a combination of things nobody had thought of, or simply gross negligence by one particular person not following rules. Hopefully something will be learned from it.

What I'm be keen to hear more about, though, is what is the practical and affordable alternative to poisons such as 1080 for protecting largely remote and inaccessible regions of New Zealand from pests, which would cause devestating damange for eco-systems and everything within them if they're not controlled?