Court stops Hunua 1080 poison drop

The non-toxic pre-feed bait (beige) and toxic bait containing 1080 (green). Photo supplied.

A planned 1080 poison drop to eradicate pests in the Hunua Ranges has been called after the Environment Court made an order stopping Auckland Council from going ahead.
There are dams in the Hunua Ranges which provide two-thirds of the city’s water.

Media company Newsroom said despite knowing of the application to the Court from the Friends of Sherwood Trust and a Court-convened telephone conference call held on Thursday September 6, the council went ahead and covered the bush in the ranges with non-toxic pre-drop pellets – which has to be followed up with 1080 within seven to 10 days.

The aerial drop is part of the council’s battle against predators which attack native birds and wildlife. It was notified at the end of August and is understood to involve dropping 2kg of 1080 baits per hectare over the Hunua park, much of which is catchment for the water supply, Newsroom reported.

The operation will take place across the Hunua Ranges, Waharau and Whakatiwai regional parks; Department of Conservation (DoC) administered lands, including Mataitai Conservation Area, and some adjoining private land.

Council said in a media release the programme is focussed on protecting the significant Hunua forest and its native species, including the threatened kokako, from pests like possums, rats and stoats.

The process begins with a non-toxic pre-feed of cereal baits over the 23,000 hectare operational area. This will be followed soon afterwards by the application of baits containing 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate). To manage such a large area and protect water supply reservoirs, council said the operational area will be treated in two separate blocks for the toxic bait application.

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