Dead rat in playground after 1080 drop
A dead rat was found in a playground near the site of a Department of Conservation 1080 drop, but DOC is not required to monitor the area for animal carcasses.
Two children visiting the playground at Piano Flat in northern Southland found the rat next to a merry-go-round at the DOC campsite on Saturday.
DOC carried out a drop in the Waikaia Forest, surrounding the camp ground, on Thursday of last week as part of its nationwide Battle for our Birds campaign to protect native birds.
DOC says the camp ground is safe for campers to use following the drop and warning signs are in place at the entry point to the camping and domain areas,
Senior ranger Rosalind Cole said after a 1080 drop in the forest in 2014 the riverbank was checked for pest carcasses as required by consent conditions at the time.
‘‘Environment Southland did not require this consent condition this year.’’
Baits were not dropped at the Piano Flat Domain and playground.
DOC will be monitoring rat levels at the end of this month to gauge the effectiveness of the pest control operation.
ES consents manager Michael Durand said ES only required DOC to put on signage at the boundary of the area where the 1080 was dropped.
He said there was no requirement for DOC to monitor public areas for animal carcasses.
‘‘It’s really only the pellets being dropped into the water that would concern us. We regulate the potential risk for people entering the area where the poison has been dropped and that is why there is a requirement for signage to be put up.’’
When approached for comment, Southern District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Keith Reid said DOC would be able to comment on their operation, monitoring and other safeguards in nearby public places.
‘‘As with any dead rat our advice would be to not handle or eat it.’’
A six month caution period is in place after the drop, where DOC advises not touching bait, watching children at all times, not eating animals from the area and not allowing dogs to have access to animal carcasses.
A dead rat was found in a children’s playground at Piano Flat in northern Southland two days after a 1080 drop had taken place in the surrounding forest.