Kea Deaths are Simply Collateral Damage in DOC’s 1080 Drops

New Zealand world’s largest user of 1080. Not 100% pure when it comes to conservation

An astonishing number of endangered Kea have been poisoned as a result of sustained 1080 drops by New Zealand’s Department of  Conservation.


A Kea, from Wikipedia

According to information published by the news site, 7 of the birds died from 1080 poisoning in 2008 (Franz Josef and Fox Glacier) and another 7 in 2011 (Okarito). No data for the intervening years was made available.

And it’s not just Kea that are dying from 1080 “Morepork, falcons, harrier hawks, kaka, kakariki, fern birds, robins, and especially introduced blackbirds and finches, are all at risk” (source).

Dead Morepork after a 1080 drop in Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand, August 2008. Photographer Jeff Schofield source kaka1080.

Now it has emerged that 5 out of 39 monitored birds also died during  a field trial of bird repellent near Otira. A DOC technical advisor told the press the deaths were naturally disappointing BUT

“Overall the benefits to Kea populations from pest control continue to outweigh the loss of individual birds to 1080”

Wait a minute, not only is DOC admitting that Keas are dying from 1080 poisoning, but the problem is serious enough to warrant using a bird repellent. This must be a first, it wasn’t so long ago 1080 was telling New Zealanders that 1080 was a safe, environmentally friendly method of pest control and rubbishing people who reported loss of bird life in NZ’s forests after a 1080 drop. “Silent forests” and “the stench of death” are terms often used. People who’ve had the unpleasant experience of watching an animal die from 1080 say the animals die an agonising deaths. This includes deer, horses, cows and wild sheep.

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In July 2013 NZ’s conservation minister, Nick Smith,  threw his weight behind calls to expand the use of 1080 to more of the conservation estate saying

“he expects a report from the conservation department in a matter of weeks.

It comes after the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment this week called for more use of the poison used to kill pests like possums, stoats and rats.

Dr Jan Wright this week said the poison was the most effective pest control method but the current scheme was inadequate and needed to be expanded to better protect New Zealand’s native fauna.

Each year around 3500 tonnes of the pellets are dumped in around one million hectares of conservation land and Smith says he is backing the calls to increase that programme…” source

In 2008 The Dominion Post obtained a draft internal report into 1080 use by DOC after the 7 deaths near Fox Glacier. It wrote:

The report says “aerial 1080 may well be a significant threat to the kea population” with some drops “probably devastating”…

Anti-1080 campaigner Mike Bennett said the kea deaths were the tip of the iceberg.

“These are only the monitored ones. If that percentage is extrapolated for the entire population, that doesn’t leave many for the next drop.”

He called for a ban on all aerial 1080 drops in alpine areas.

New Zealand is the world’s largest user of 1080, a poison designed to be used in bait stations in warehouses to control vermin. Around 3,000 tonnes of it are dropped over 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) every year.

You may also be interested in

1080 Use In NZ May Be Stopped By The USA Congress (July 2010)

“The US Congress is to be presented with a bill that will ban the production and export of the poison 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) of which New Zealand is the world’s single largest user, taking almost all of the production.

New Zealand’s Dept of Conservation went to the extraordinary measure of  supporting the use, and production, of 1080 by briefing the USA’s EPA on how it’s used in New Zealand. Despite massive protests from many sectors of the NZ public (including farmers and local councils) about the widespread use of the poison over thousands of hectares of land and the damage it does to the environment.” more here

External sites


Farmers Against 1080: FATE

Bureaucrat Gang-Up on “Farmers Against 1080″

Doc and the 1080 Fraud – by the KAKA group

Stop 1080! –  A NZ based Facebook group.

New Pro-1080 Alliance Lacks Sustainability Vision: – Press release from The Soil and Health Association of NZ

1080 Documentary wins out against NZ propaganda machine

Enuf is Enuf. Poison free New Zealand

Another nail in the coffin for 1080

Posts tagged 1080

2 thoughts on “Kea Deaths are Simply Collateral Damage in DOC’s 1080 Drops

  1. Hi. Could you please credit the dead morepork image to my husband Jeff Schofield who took the image for the website kaka1080. Please email us if you require further verification. Many thanks Louise Schofield.

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