OPINION: In response to Mr Richardson's concerns about the impact of the Martins Bay 1080 operation on South Island kokako (August 22), the last confirmed sighting of SI kokako was in 1967.
No verification of the existence of SI kokako has been made since this date despite significant search effort, including an alleged sighting in 2007 report from Reefton which remains unverified.
Martins Bay is an area that has also lost its mohua, South Island robin and tokoweka (kiwi) over recent decades due to the impact of rats, stoats and possum.
It is extremely unlikely SI kokako have managed to persist undetected in an area of wilderness with permanent human occupation when these other, less susceptible species have become locally extinct. The proven and effective tool for the management and recovery of North Island kokako in North Island rugged environments similar to Martins Bay, is aerially applied 1080.
The use of 1080 has been critical for the recovery of a number of North Island kokako populations such as Mapara.
Specific research has demonstrated that NI kokako are one of four species known to have a very low risk of non-target poisoning in aerial 1080 operations.
Further information: www.doc.govt.nz/ battleforourbirds
DR JAMES REARDON
Department of Conservation
- The Southland Times