The biggest threat to native wildlife in the Wellington Region is introduced predators such as rats, possums and stoats.
We face a choice; let predators reach out of control numbers, or manage them to protect our native species, primary production sector and social wellbeing.
The biodegradable pesticide sodium fluoroacetate (or 1080) is one of the many methods we use to manage the array of predators within the Wellington Region. 1080 has been proven over many years to reduce predator numbers safely, with no adverse impact on the environment or human health.
We use aerial 1080 for controlling predators in areas which are rugged and/or hard to reach, making them difficult to control through other forms of ground control.
What we know about 1080
- It is highly soluble and does not accumulate or leave permanent residues in soil, water or animals
- It is found in many plants around the world including New Zealand’s native puha
- Bird nesting success rate dramatically improves after the use of 1080
- Many native trees and plant species show significantly better growth and survival after an aerial 1080 operation
- It does not kill or harm fish
- Local health authorities apply strict conditions to aerial operations so that drinking water supplies are not contaminated and that the public is informed when and where operations are to be undertaken
- Its safety has been confirmed through testing water samples following 1080 aerial operations. Several thousand samples have been tested over many years
Planning and permissions
Operations are subject to strict safety, quality-assurance and monitoring requirements. Helicopters are equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational technology to ensure bait is accurately placed within agreed operational areas, and identified ‘exclusion zones’ are avoided.
The use of 1080 requires consent from the Medical Officer of Health (MOH). It also must comply with both the Hazardous Substances & New Organisms Act and the Resource Management Act.
First, non-toxic tan-coloured “pre-feed” cereal pellets are sown by helicopter. This gives possums a taste for cereal pellets, encouraging them to consume the 1080 pellets sown at a later date making the operation more effective.
About seven to ten days after the non-toxic pellets are sown, helicopters will sow cereal pellets containing the biodegradable pesticide sodium fluoroacetate (1080).
Why are we using 1080?
Aerial control is particularly suited for large areas with rugged terrain. 1080 is a highly effective, cost-efficient and safe method of controlling mammalian pests, particularly possums, rats and stoats.
Rats will die when they consume possum baits, while stoats will be killed when they consume the carcasses of poisoned rats and possums. A reduction in these introduced predators will further protect native plants and birds.
In June 2011, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment strongly endorsed the continued use of 1080 in New Zealand.
Safe drinking water
1080 is an organic, water soluble and biodegradable substance that is readily broken down by bacteria and other micro-organisms in the environment. Local health authorities apply strict conditions to aerial operations so that drinking water supplies are not contaminated. Safety has been confirmed by tests on several thousand water samples taken after aerial 1080 operations over many years.
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