What? A) The proposed plan for this research assignment is for DOC (Department of Conservation) to use 1080 in the Stewart Island area to control possums. B) Stewart Island is roughly a triangular shape, it is about 65 km long and 40 km wide at its widest point, it has 750 km of coastline and is roughly the size of Singapore. DOC wants to poison the entire bush which covers all of Stewart Island except the town of Oban to rid the Island of Possums. The 1080 will be dropped by plane over the bush for the possums to come into contact with and die. Where? A) The location of Stewart Island and the area that is proposed to be poisoned with 1080 is 47 degrees south and 168 degrees east. (Map is attached) B) The environment that is planned to be poisoned is all native bush with tall forest trees that cover all of the island and also off shore islands, these trees are kamahi, to tara and rim with ground cover consisting mainly of coprosma, lancewood, tree ferns and broadleaf.
Fuchsia is common around Half Moon bay. Tui and bellbirds, parakeets, weak, tomtits, pigeons, fantails, kaka and kiwi are all native birds that also live on the island. C) Changes that will occur to the environment while this development is occurring is that all the introduced possum from Australia (originally introduced for the fur trade market) will be eradicated and the native forest that they are constantly destroying at the moment will be able to regenerate and be able to feed and support the native birds that are slowly decreasing on the island due to a decrease in food available because of the possums. The possums are also killing the native animals directly, by eating the threatened Giant Land Snail and also kiwi's eggs, this has been proven by DOC putting in video cameras in kiwi's nests and videoing possums eating the eggs. Once this proposal has occurred, Stewart Island will have a native forest that will have a plentiful food supply for all the native animals that are living on the island now and possum browsing that threatens kamahi and rata forests with collapse will not be a problem.
Why? A) The benefits that that this development will bring are huge, Stewart Island will be able to be classed as a "pest free" island and more native animals will be able to be introduced to the island with the knowledge that they will survive and not be in competition with the possum. Stewart Island will become more of a psycho-centric tourist destination with walking tracks around the island becoming more popular due to the thick forests and native birds coming back. "One day, it will be as noisy and as busy with birdlife as it was 200 years ago." Says Ulv a Amos. B) Department of Conservations perspective Effective pest management is fundamental to protecting native plants and animals, New Zealand forests that are healthy, green and vibrant are largely pest free. (quoted by Mr. Peter Lusk) DOC believe that 1080 is the best and most economic way off controlling possums with the number they have to kill and the area they have to deal with.
With Stewart Island having the hectares it does in bush, and the type of terrain, DOC believes that 1080 is the best solution for ridding the island of possums, DOC say "there are about 28 options for possum control, its about the most effective we " ve got" and DOC are totally in support for this development. Forest and Birds Prospective Introduced pests, including possums, rats, feral cats and stoats are ravaging New Zealand's forests. In rugged areas, ground based control is both ineffective and impractical. Cyanide kills possums but ids highly toxic and has killed a significant number of kiwis. Trapping has killed or injured large numbers of weak and kiwi. "1080 does kill birds" (quoted by a DOC paper) but not to the extent of any other form of possum control.
Animal health boards prospective Few people argue against the fact that possums are a pest and there is a need for control, the animal health board is totally for the control of possum with the use of 1080. Possums in the larger scale of things spread TB or tuberculosis onto other bovines and humans can also pick this disease up off them. C) All the people that support the use of 1080 to control possums on Stewart Island support it because it is proven to be the best and most efficient way of getting rid of these unwanted pests with the area and type of terrain that wants to be poisoned. How? A) Some of the problems that need to be over come before this development becomes a reality is that they need to see what the local residents think about the proposal and the effect that this decision will have on the environment.
DOC is legally bound to meet strict Ministry of Health conditions before permits for 1080 are issued so the local residents are ensured there safety. Cost is also a factor in determining the use of 1080 on Stewart Island and if it is worthwhile using it on this Island or on other Islands such as cod fish where it will cost less to poison and maintain pest free. B) Research was done to ensure that there was the least effect socially and environmentally when 1080 is to be used to kill possums on Stewart Island. Research on what sort of effect 1080 has on the environment was done, and here are some figures -1080 is biodegradable -1080 occurs naturally in plants -1080 leaves no traces in the water supply and GPS is used in aerial applications to ensure there is a 20 m barrier from water ways when applied so the is no chance of contamination.
Socially, research was carried out by surveys and this is where a stink was kicked up, because 1080 or Sodium Flouroacetate is only harmful to mammals, and New Zealand only has one Native mammal and this is the bat, which does not live on Stewart Island, deer are harmed and / or killed by 1080 and Deer hunters are totally against the use of 1080 on Stewart Island for this reason, as there sport may be put in jeopardy by this poison. Alternatives Alternatives to the use of 1080 on Stewart Island to control possums are not controlling them at all which will just see the island turn into ruins, or other trapping methods such as bait stations, traps, shooting and other poisons. Using other poisons is not very practical to Stewart Island as it is a native bush and a lot of native animals live in it, and all the other poisons that have been discussed for use have had more negative points than the 1080 has, such as mainly harming other native animals. Bait stations are a very costly way of controlling possums as there are large numbers of them on the island and it requires a lot of labour to keep these stations full and in service.
Trapping such as Gin traps do more harm than good when in native bush such as Stewart Island because native birds such as kiwis and wekas are ground dwellers and easily become trapped in these such traps. Shooting possums is not really an option (according to a DOC spokesman) because there are so many possums in the area, shooting the pests one by one, will take "a heel of a long time, and also money." Deer Hunters are the main reason for the large debate of the use of 1080, and in an article I found, an alternative is to have a deer repellant added to the 1080 that is applied by aerial application to stop the deer from eating the poison, and therefore dying. Opposition The people that are in opposition to the use of 1080 in the Stewart Island are the New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association because the 1080 will kill the deer. Talking to Jim Ridley, family friend of mum and dads, and active member of the Southland branch of the New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association, he is totally against it, "This is going to ruin the sport for decades, people are coming to Southland to shoot trophy heads, and with the use of 1080, this game will not be here to shoot, it is just indiscriminately killing them." Individual Action With being interested in the game hunting of New Zealand, I would not like to see the use of 1080 to kill possums on Stewart Island as through investigations, I believe that the game industry will be put in jeopardy by this decision.
I believe that other methods of control such as bait stations are the best option to keep every body happy, and that's what the aim of the game is. I believe I could write a letter submitting my investigations and my views on the whole matter and also could get other people that are against the use of 1080 to submit a petition to stop it. I could also volunteer my labour to go and bait / reset the bait stations if labour is the reason they are not using this method of controlling possums. Individual Research The methods that I used to collect the data for this report where by speaking with a member of the New Zealand Deer Stalkers association, DoC worker in the office in Invercargill, Reference to news paper articles and finding facts and figures off the internet in respect to the use of 1080. Geographers Role The geographer's role in planning issues is to make sure that every issue and likely scenario has been looked into and covered. There role is also to make sure every person is able to have there opinion and have been heard, no matter how big or small they, or there group are.
Bibliography Jim Ridley West Plains rd Invercargill Department of Conservation (Invercargill) web > NZ Farmer, Southland Times and News Link.