1080 drop welcomed

"We do need to try and do something."

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 04/02/2014
possums
possums

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A planned 1080 drop in the Pouiatoa Forest was being welcomed by a custodian of the drop zone as a "valuable tool" to help protect kiwi.

East Taranaki Environment Trust chairwoman Karen Schumacher said 1080 was one of the tools used to help keep the kiwi's predators at bay.

And the amount used nowadays was really small, she said.

"The 1080 doesn't hurt kiwi. We had an aerial drop in 2005 and we had six kiwi with transmitters on and they were fine afterwards. The last drop was successful and the timing of this is really good."

The trust's 13,000-hectare kiwi habitat includes all of the Pouiatoa Forest. The kiwi population in the forest was really taking off, Mrs Schumacher said. In 2012 it was estimated there were 500 pairs of kiwi and some had transmitters on them, so she knew the kiwi were breeding.

"There will be chicks floating around." The trust had 1300 stoat traps in the forest and had already noticed a marked increase in the number of stoats being caught.

Scientists were expecting a one-in-15-year beech mast this year that would drop a million tonnes of seed in autumn, triggering a plague of an additional 30 million rats and tens of thousands of stoats in New Zealand forests.

North Taranaki Forest and Bird chairwoman Carolyn Brough said the association was supportive of the 1080 drop.

"We do need to try and do something. We're still losing native birds.

"We're grateful the Government is putting up the money and it's great Taranaki is included."

But not everyone is happy. The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association was against the drop and North Taranaki branch vice-president Alex Wolf said all hunters were strongly against the poison "being put anywhere".

"It might help with possums, but other animals are dying."

Pigs ate it and suffered, he said.

"All hunters are against it."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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