The endemic fauna of New Zealand evolved in the absence of mammalian predators and their introduction has been devastating. Large-scale aerial applications of cereal baits containing sodium fluoroacetate (1080) are routinely used to control these pests. During one such operation in the Blue Mountains, West Otago, trail cameras were used to monitor the impact of the application on mammalian predators.
The impact of aerially applied 1080 poison on a Western weka (Gallirallus australis australis) population was assessed at Tennyson Inlet, Marlborough Sounds, between September 2010 and June 2016. We estimated mortality and the incidence of sublethal poisoning as a direct consequence of two aerial 1080 operations and examined the differences in nest success, chick survivorship and adult survivorship. Most weka in the treated block appear to have been sublethally poisoned but only one of 58 (1.8%) radio-tagged weka died as a direct consequence of 1080 application.
The kea (Nestor notabilis) is a highly intelligent and adaptable omnivorous New Zealand parrot. These traits potentially put kea at risk of poisoning during vertebrate pest poisoning operations. However, as kea fall prey to introduced pests, they also gain from pest control, creating a cost-benefit situation.
Controlling rodents near municipal areas requires bait that must be housed in purpose-built bait stations to prevent interference from curious people, companion animals, and non-target species. Bait station design is important, but so are the baits themselves.
We used a long-term replicated before-after control-impact (BACI) sampling design to monitor the effect of aerial 1080 possum-control operations on common forest bird populations. Paired treatment and non- treatment sites in the Rolleston Range (East Coast, South Island) and Alexander Range (West Coast, South Island) were monitored once before 1080 treatment during winter 2012 and for three successive summers afterwards. Mammals (possums Trichosurus vulpecula, rats Rattus spp.
In New Zealand, aerial poisoning with 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) bait is widely used for control of introduced small mammal pests in remote or forested areas. However this practice is controversial, partly because of perceived risks to native fauna, particularly birds. That perception originally derives from substantial mortality of some native bird species in pre-1980 control operations, which prompted changes in baiting practice to mitigate most of the risk.
One of the criteria for an effective bird repellent in a pest management context in New Zealand is that possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and ship rat (Rattus rattus) kills remain high where repellents are used in poison baits. Repellents were used in baits applied within different treatment blocks as part of a large aerial 1080 operation in November 2013 near Haast on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
Aerial poisoning with cereal bait containing 1080 toxin is known to pose a risk to the kea (Nestor notabilis), an endemic New Zealand mountain parrot. For a bird repellent to protect kea during such poisoning operations, it must be effective in bait for 4–12 weeks after the bait is manufactured, as this is when most aerial 1080 cereal operations take place. Two bird repellents have been shown to be effective with captive kea, d-pulegone and 9,10-anthraquinone.
Predation at nests contributes importantly to current declines of New Zealand forest birds. We monitored the survival of natural and artificial arboreal nests in small forest remnants south-west of Hamilton, where ship rat (Rattus rattus) and possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) abundances were also being measured in Summer 2008/09. Artificial cup nests (N = 77) were placed in replicated blocks with and without pest control, in both December and January.
The kukupa or New Zealand pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) is gradually declining on the New Zealand mainland, due mostly to predation by introduced pest mammals including ship rats (Rattus rattus) and brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). We report on a co-operative project between Maori landowners, the Department of Conservation, and Manaaki WhenuaLandcare Research researchers to restore a Northland kukupa population and to examine kukupa nesting success in relation to pest abundance.