Rangi-te-ao-re-re Raki with kiwi
Image: Sabine Bernert ©


A discussion of 1080 issues covering concerns to Māori.

Why does DOC use biodegradable 1080?

DOC uses biodegradable 1080 to protect native species from introduced pests like possums and rats and stoats.

Biodegradable 1080 is particularly suited for use in New Zealand as there are no native ground-dwelling mammals that are affected by its use. The benefits to native species of using aerially 1080 greatly outweigh perceived risks and many studies support this point. 

Any animal pesticide can be poisonous to humans and domestic animals. Poisoning can occur through eating cereal baits or animals that have eaten the baits and become poisoned. Animal carcasses remain poisonous until they are completely decomposed. 

What about alternatives?

DOC is always open to alternative methods of pest control and uses and funds a wide range of pest management tools. Along with other agencies, DOC invests in research for alternative methods of control. New efficient traps and alternative toxins and delivery methods are always being sought.  

Why aerial 1080?

Aerial application of biodegradable 1080 is the most cost effective tool for controlling pests over large and inaccessible areas. For rapid knockdown of target pests over large areas, 1080 has no current equal. Ground control methods cannot be used for rapid knockdown over large areas. In all cases, the choice of pest control method is influenced by many factors including pest density, scale, accessibility and topography.

On easier, more accessible terrain, various traps and other toxins like cyanide may be used.

How accurate is aerial 1080?

Helicopter pilots use GPS equipment to ensure accurate, even bait coverage. This has led to the amount of toxin needed per hectare being reduced by efficient application.

Does 1080 affect the environment?

Biodegradable 1080 naturally breaks down in the environment and does not leave residues in water, soil, plants or animals or build up in the food chain.

Does 1080 affect water quality?

1080 dilutes quickly in water to low concentrations and breaks down through natural processes to non-toxic by-products  Hundreds of water tests have been taken after 1080 operations and drinking water standards have never been breached. 

Does 1080 affect human health?

Use of 1080 for pest control is strictly regulated and closely monitored to protect people and the environment from harm.

Are there risks to pets and livestock?

1080 affects animals differently. Some are highly susceptible, like dogs, while others, like amphibious animals and fish are almost immune. Tuna may eat the bait but are unaffected. 

DOC works with neighbouring farmers to manage stock around pest control operations. Cattle are mustered away from controlled drop areas until the all-clear is given.

Deer and pigs are not targeted by aerial use of 1080. Some deer populations may be affected by 1080 operations which are designed to protect natural values. The addition of deer repellent will reduce the impact on deer but not pigs.

How does it affect pigs?

There will be a by-kill of pigs but this will not affect the pig population significantly. Local observations suggest populations rebound quickly as the pigs respond to increased food (such as berries) after possums are removed and increase in numbers. 

Independent assessment

A major review of 1080 by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in 2011 and again in 2013  found aerial 1080 was the most cost effective means of controlling rats, stoats and possums at a landscape scale and there were no practical alternatives. The Commissioner wants more 1080 used to protect native species.

Reports, reviews and regulation of 1080

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