Sounds' residents oppose 1080 drop

SAMANTHA GEE
Last updated 09:05 01/09/2014
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Owners of a wildlife sanctuary in the Pelorus Sound have gained more than 700 signatures on a petition against a scheduled 1080 drop near their property.

"Stop the 1080 Drop", started on August 19 by Tira Ora Estate co-owners Annebeth Riles and Tony Broad, had attracted signatures from people throughout New Zealand and other countries.

The group is campaigning for the Department of Conservation (DOC) to move the drop line away from their property to prevent the poison from entering their waterways.

"Our petition is targeted at setting the boundary well back over the ridgeline at all points from housing so that even if mistakes are made, we, our and other animals, and native birds will not be dumped on," said Broad.

Riles said residents, guests, volunteers and animals relied on the water system at the sanctuary.

"There is no other water for us but the water that flows down the hillsides at Tira Ora.

"We catch that water in a reservoir and drink it. Our water is our lifeline."

Riles said she received an email from DOC Picton ranger Frank Rosie on Wednesday agreeing to observe a ‘no-fly zone' over the Tira Ora Estate property.

"There is no need or requirement to fly over your property in a helicopter with the spreader bucket beneath.

"I agree that the risk is too great therefore I will instruct the helicopter company that that shall not happen," the email said.

However, Rosie said that moving the boundary for the 1080 drop would not be conducive to successful operations.

"Where the boundary is currently, that is the best place for protecting biodiversity values in the reserve," he said.

People who had signed the petition could leave a reason for doing so, he said.

Robyn Pickens from Oamaru wrote, "1080 is killing what it is meant to be saving: ecosystems".

"It will affect wild life and the people in the area who are living off the land," said Kasper Raunholst from Kolding, Denmark.

No date had been set for the drop, which is expected to happen after the school holidays in October. Meanwhile, DOC will lay 1080 by hand around the Bottle Rock Peninsula this week as part of a predator defence trial.

DOC programme manager Phil Bell said approximately 2 kilometres of the Queen Charlotte Track was in the targeted 440ha area, but the bait would be laid five metres from either side of the track and out of sight.

The technique being used had been developed in a study by Landcare research, Bell said.

The study compared laying bait by hand with aerial application and found similar kill rates in rats and possums.

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Hand-laying bait was cheaper than aerial drops but the terrain needed to be walkable.

Warning signs saying 1080 had been laid would be erected at Ship Cove and the entry and exit to the Queen Charlotte Track and stay in place for at least four months, Bell said.

- The Marlborough Express

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