Fake 1080 news
IntroductionNo, these kiwi weren't killed by 1080. Find out about this popular viral hoax and other irresponsible fake news.
1080 is a highly emotive subject. Considerable misinformation about it circulates online and in conservation, making it difficult for people to know what to believe.
1080 kills kiwi
No kiwi has been found dead as a result of 1080 poisoning, ever. Threatened Species Ambassador Nic Toki explains the facts in an article for The Spinoff:
Photo of dead kiwi ‘killed by 1080’
This popular hoax by well-known anti-1080 campaigners implied 1080 had killed over 50 North Island brown kiwi.
The kiwi in the photograph above were killed by cars and dogs over three years and collected by DOC.
The local community group who first posted the image on Facebook were clear about the facts. They were ‘extremely annoyed’ to learn that anti-1080 campaigners were using it to make fraudulent claims against 1080 – a crucial tool in kiwi conservation.
'89 dead kiwi', Tongariro Forest
In 2011, anti-1080 campaigner Clyde Graf released a media statement linking biodegradable 1080 with the death of 89 kiwi in the Tongariro Forest Kiwi Sanctuary. It was titled “89 Dead Kiwi – 1080 clearly not working” and has been discussed online under the heading “89 Kiwi Killed In 1080 Drop”.
Graf's statement selectively quoted information provided by DOC and claimed that 1080 drops in the forest had failed to protect kiwi. It also suggested the biodegradable toxin itself could be responsible for the deaths.
In fact, predator control in the area had resulted in many more kiwi surviving than would have otherwise. We clarified the facts with a media release: 1080 kiwi claims extremely misleading.
In 2018, crucial ferret traps in the area were sabotaged.
1080 ‘kills everything’
The myth that 1080 kills everything has been disproved repeatedly by scientific studies.
1080 ‘creates silent forests’
Silent forests are a result of the problem conservationists are trying to solve: introduced predators are killing an estimated 25 million birds each year in New Zealand.
Unprotected forests are indeed quiet, and without pest control, they will only get quieter. 1080 is an effective, proven solution.
Then and now
Modern 1080 operations have little in common with those of the 1960s. Unfortunately, old stories continue to circulate, creating a false picture of today’s conservation efforts.
Early operations conducted by the New Zealand Forest Service used:
- cubed carrots sprayed with 1080 to target possums and rabbits
- sow rates of up to 32 kg per hectare
- wide bait spreading from light aircraft.
This high bait loading, combined with many small bait fragments, or ‘chaff’, led to high rates of poisoning in non-target species in certain cases.
Extensive research and development has changed the way DOC and other organisations use 1080.
In today’s operations:
- baits are dyed green to deter birds
- baits are scented with a cinnamon lure, attractive to possums and rats but not birds
- cereal pellets incorporate 1080 into a complex ‘bait matrix’ and are chaff-free
- sow rates have been reduced to just 1–3 kg per hectare
- helicopter flightpaths are guided and logged using GPS to ensure accurate, consistent delivery, cross-checked by geo-spatial (mapping) analysts on the ground.
The above improvements have almost eliminated bird by-kill. Monitoring results and independent research have proven that 1080 effectively protects New Zealand’s native wildlife.