Doc vehicles allegedly tampered with, 1080 bait put in letterbox
CHRISTCHURCH: The wheel of a Department of Conservation contractor’s vehicle flew off while he was driving, after his vehicle was allegedly tampered with, Doc directorgeneral Lou Sanson says.
It was one of three cases in which wheel nuts were allegedly loosened in actions Doc believed were aimed to intimidate workers and disrupt aerial 1080 pest control operations.
Police were told of another case where 1080 baits were left in a letterbox at a Doc address.
Mr Sanson said it was fortunate noone was hurt.
‘‘We take any threats to Doc staff very seriously and are working with the police to find those responsible,’’ he said.
Doc has not identified the locations of the alleged tampering, in order to protect staff.
‘‘People have a right to lawful protest, but I will not tolerate anyone putting my staff at risk as they go about their job of protecting our precious wildlife,’’ Mr Sanson said.
State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes backed Doc, saying ‘‘This unacceptable behaviour is coming from a very small group of people and is rightly under police investigation.’’
Doc’s Battle for our Birds programme is under way to protect vulnerable native species from predators. The programme of aerial 1080 and groundbased predator control is to protect atrisk populations of birds, bats, frogs, lizards and giant snails as well as native forests. — NZN