Preda­tor-Free NZ

Marlborough Express - - COMMENT&OPINION -

I re­fer to ecol­o­gist Steve Ur­lich’s opin­ion con­tri­bu­tion ( Ex­press, Oc­to­ber 9) in which he imag­ines the fate of the cur­rent anti-pest fad Preda­tor-Free NZ.

Steve Ul­rich’s imag­i­na­tive look into the fu­ture sub­tly shows how fu­tile the whole dream of a Preda­tor-Free NZ is. The dream has be­come a craze with poi­sons be­ing top-dressed over the pub­lic’s lands. It has not oc­curred to the ide­o­logues of Pest-Free NZ that rats live in towns on farms and around farm build­ings.

The main tool of En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Nick Smith and Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Mag­gie Barry is 1080 and to a lesser ex­tent brod­i­fa­coum, two lethal ecosys­tem poi­sons. New Zealand is shame­fully the world leader in poi­son ap­pli­ca­tion, us­ing 90 per cent to 95 per cent of the world’s sup­ply of this eco-toxin. De­vel­oped on the 1927 as an in­sec­ti­cide, it’s was soon ob­vi­ous that 1080 kills any­thing that re­lies on oxy­gen for its ex­is­tence. It has no known an­ti­dote, and is fatal to mar­su­pi­als, mam­mals, birds, in­sects, worms, grubs, fish etc. In smaller sub-lethal doses, it may not kill but can have cu­mu­la­tive long-last­ing resid­ual ef­fects in­clud­ing in­ter­rupt­ing the re­pro­duc­tive cy­cle. Once in the food chain, ei­ther as car­casses or sub-lethal prey, con­sump­tion by preda­tors or scav­engers quickly leads to their demise.

Iron­i­cally Land­care re­search shows sur­viv­ing rats ex­plode in num­bers with multi-lit­ters fol­low­ing 1080. Within three years rats num­ber three times their pre­poi­son lev­els. It seeks to kill rats but in­stead stim­u­lates rat pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sions. Not only are such mass ex­ter­mi­na­tion ef­forts fu­tile but also are gross mis­use of pub­lic money, but it is dis­rupt­ing and wreck­ing the ecosys­tem.

Andi Cock­roft

Co-chair­man, Coun­cil of Out­door Recre­ation As­so­ci­a­tions of NZ

PHOTO: TOM LEE/STUFF

There is no need to keep chas­ing the new tech­nol­ogy lead­ers.

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