Pelorus drop to go ahead
How do you feel about 1080?
Pelorus Protection Ltd last night conceded it had failed to stop the Department of Conservation dropping 1080 poison over the Tennyson Inlet area of Pelorus Sound.
Close to 40 people turned out in stormy conditions to hear that DOC had been given approval by the medical officer of health to start a six-year pest control programme this month.
Richard Glover, of Pelorus Protection, said the group had made some gains despite being unable to stop the drop. This included negotiating a poison-free buffer on either side of the Nydia Bay track and an agreement that the operators spraying the poison would identify and avoid water supplies.
Efforts to persuade DOC to use self-setting traps instead of poison to kill possums, rats, ferrets and stoats had failed, Mr Glover said.
However, Pelorus Protection was considering a combined approach involving trapping along the Nydia Bay track and in areas where water supplies were at risk while DOC flew on poison as planned.
Predator Free New Zealand founder Les Kelly, of Picton, said Pelorus Sound would be an ideal place to pilot a world-leading approach to eliminating rather than controlling pests. Scientists were developing lures which would use sex pheromones to draw pests to areas with traps.
The group planned to trial a new type of trap which smeared poison on the chest of pests on the Kaiuma property of Peter Yealands, near Havelock, he said. Enough traps should be available to start the work in March next year.
Duncan Francis, of On the Track Lodge on the Nydia Track, said word of mouth about 1080 would get back to tourists in their home countries and people would stay away.
"New Zealand trades itself as clean and green and people from overseas don't plan holidays here to be confronted with large deathly poison warning signs," he said.
The signs had to stay in place for 12 months after a poison drop.
DOC had told him to expect a drop in the next week or two when the weather cleared, avoiding the school holidays.
"But what about the poor German family that arrives with their kids," he asked.
There was a risk that dogs, allowed on the Nydia Track, would be poisoned by the pellets, Mr Francis said.
Mr Glover said DOC had been spreading 1080 for 50 years with no end in sight. It would spend $150,000 on the drop, likely to start this week, and $300,000 over the six years of the programme.
People at the meeting suggested that Pelorus Protection buy gas-operated self-setting traps in bulk then sell them at a discount.
- The Marlborough Express