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.
Co-chairman, Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ
There is no need to keep chasing the new technology leaders.