Back in April I wrote a post about the upcoming aerial 1080[i] poison drop in Rimutaka Forest Park[ii] bordering Lower Hutt and Wainuiomata, Upper Hutt, and Featherston, and including over one of Wellington’s primary watersheds. That has been a popular post, and I thought it might be useful to do an update.
As of three days ago (13 August) the Gum Loops Walk near Wainuiomata and the watershed area profiled in my previous post had still not been poisoned, but signs indicated they had been aerial dropping non-poison bait pellets, presumably to accustom wildlife to being safely fed in this way. When I walked the track on Monday I found it cold and wet—we’ve had quite a bit of rain lately—and I encountered two other walkers, both with dogs. I also watched two chaffinches pecking at a bit of something they’d found to eat on the tarmac road leading up to the watershed area, and I wondered if they’d enjoyed the winter windfall feed from the recent drop of non-poisoned pellets.
Since my previous post on this topic, publication of articles in the DomPost and Hutt News in which I was quoted (and misquoted, and had statements attributed to me that I didn't say at all, but that's the press for you) as been concerned about the upcoming 1080 drop, there have been numerous DomPost letters to the editor on 1080, both for and against its use, and several large ads extolling the virtues of using 1080 sponsored by the Animal Health Board, the Department of Conservation, and Wellington Regional Council. This is clearly a polarizing issue.
The Graf Boys, keen hunters and lovers of the wilderness, have recently put this video on you tube showing deer after deer found dead, poisoned and bleeding and twisted in agony, following an aerial 1080 poison drop near Taihape earlier this month. They found more dead deer than possums in this forest block, although possums were ostensibly the target.
Also from the Graf Boys blogsite, you'll find much to ponder in a report (testimony) on the use and implications of 1080 in New Zealand by Quinn E Whiting-Okeefe, and a beautiful and impassioned plea in poetry from Redwood Reider to Dr Jan Wright, our Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to stop dropping the stuff in our forests, filmed on the stage at Te Papa (our national museum here in Wellington). (Note--Blogger and/or YouTube aren't allowing me to upload it directly, so you'll have to click on this link to watch. Reider is a bit hesitant to get going, but once she hits her stride, this is performance poetry at its best.)
[i] For a brief description of what 1080 is, see my previous post. For more detailed information on this poison and its effects, I recommend http://www.1080science.co.nz/index.html. The Department of Conservation defend their use of 1080 on their website http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/threats-and-impacts/animal-pests/methods-of-control/1080-poison-for-pest-control/