New Zealand has been attempting to eradicate selected mammals by poisoning with 1080 for over sixty years. Vast amounts of research have been undertaken to measure its effectiveness but the target species (rats, stoats and possums) are still here, perhaps in greater numbers than ever. The inevitable by-kill of non-target species by spreading such an extremely hazardous toxin as 1080 continues.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s Report on 1080 (June 2011) concluded that in order for 1080 to be effective it must be used in large amounts and in perpetuity. However, increasing the frequency of deployment has been shown to reduce its effectiveness, possibly due to bait-shyness. To all intents, therefore, 1080 has become the “opium of conservation”.
The prioritisation of eradicating rats and mustelids using 1080 has also diverted focus away from other threats to our native fauna: Magpies, myna birds, weasels, ferrets, hedgehogs and feral cats, for instance, displacee or kill birds, insects and amphibia.
United Future’s intent is to create the opportunity and environment for individuals, communities of interest and businesses to establish viable alternatives to aerial 1080 dispersal and measure and monitor the effectiveness of this approach.