New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2020) 44(2): 3406

Effectiveness of aerial 1080 for control of mammal pests in the Blue Mountains, New Zealand

Research Article
Peter Dilks 1
Tim Sjoberg 2
Elaine C. Murphy 1,2*
  1. Department of Conservation, Private Bag 4715, Christchurch, New Zealand
  2. Centre for Wildlife Management & Conservation, Lincoln University, New Zealand

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. Both stoats and rats were regularly recorded on cameras throughout the study area before the poison operation, but no stoats or rats were recorded the day after the operation, and none had returned by the time monitoring ended 38 days later. Possum, mouse and hedgehog detections were also significantly reduced. The aerial 1080 operation was therefore effective at controlling pests, and there was no evidence of a decline in bird or deer abundance due to non-target poisoning. Before this study it was not known that hedgehogs could be controlled by aerial 1080; this finding reveals an added benefit from its application. The use of trail cameras was effective at monitoring a range of species and although more labour-intensive than traditional monitoring methods, it provided more detailed information.