Doc ve­hi­cles al­legedly tam­pered with, 1080 bait put in let­ter­box

Otago Daily Times - - General -

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

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