Tag Archives: 1080 bait

Lethal management (NSW): 1080 poison — why do they use it and blur its horrendous impacts?

1080-baiting-august2020

THIS YEAR 2020, the NSW government is undertaking a wide-ranging killing program that it is proud to call the “largest feral animal control program in the state’s history” following the 2019–2020 bushfires. This involves dropping poison baits disguised as food for hungry mammalian animals into 60,000 kilometres of the state’s burned-out forests over a 12-month period. The official target is for feral animals including ‘wild dogs’

Wild dogs include escaped pets and domestic hunting dogs — ie a human-caused problem. But Australia’s native dog and apex predator the Dingo has been reclassified a ‘wild dog’ for this exercise, losing any claim to present-day protected native species consideration.

There is also a related ground-based shooting program going on, all taxpayer-funded. While the official target is feral animals particularly the fox, possibly cats and pigs too, members of the AWPC and other native animal defenders suspect the program has a strong background “stakeholder” — the state’s sheep farmers.

The lethal approach to effecting conservation biology goals has been accepted as a primary environmental management tool in Australia and New Zealand. These two former colonies are world champions and still holdouts in poisoning animals with 1080 baits, often dispersed from the air. In both countries, killing millions of introduced animals once they are labelled as ‘pests’ (eg Australian brush-tail possums in New Zealand) raises even less debate than killing indigenous wildlife.

The practitioners of pest animal eradication and wildlife management of anything not labelled ‘endangered’ frequently blur. The notion of abundance and tag of ‘pest’ is all that is needed. The Self-Poisoning of New Zealand by Name and by Nature, Tony Orman. 14 June 2015, Tasmanian Times.

Has been used in sheep country for decades. National Parks helping the graziers, no-one knows the wider impact

In Australian sheep country 1080-laced baits are often dropped from aircraft. One example is onto a four kilometre-wide transect of country bordering the ‘dog fence’ that now stretches for 5,600 km (3,500 miles) between north and south of the continent.

While the target is Dingos and wild dogs no-one knows the total impact including persistence in the environment, secondary poisoning of scavenger birds or, elsewhere, mammalian native predators. The poison is dropped by government departments on behalf of sheep graziers. Regular government poisoning is conducted on the outskirts of national parks for the same reason.

In the state of Tasmania industry and government are united, although not necessarily with the public, on the need to poison bait brush-tail possums, and poison or shotgun Pademelons and Bennett’s Wallabies that nibble on emerging trees shoots.

Hideous method of dealing death

Developed as a rat poison, therefore a mammalian poison, from a naturally-occurring plant metabolite, 1080 is now tightly controlled or banned in most countries because of its hideous method of dealing death, along with its variable persistence and danger to non-target species, including carrion feeders. The use of this poison as a wide-ranging control method, targeting for a long time now the Australian native dog the Dingo, (as well as escaped domestic dogs, foxes, cats, pigs, rabbits or possums) is simply put, an animal welfare issue.

Most animals that ingest it will die; and worse, they will suffer horribly for up to 48 hours or longer before they die. In dogs, the signs of poisoning are usually noticed within half an hour of ingestion, but can take more than six hours to show up. First symptoms include vomiting, anxiety, disorientation and shaking. These quickly develop into frenzied behaviour with running and screaming fits, drooling at the mouth, uncontrolled paddling and seizures, followed by total collapse and death.  H Hahner, 1080, the nasty poison. The District Bulletin, Nov 2012, p18.

The NSW Animal Justice Party (AJP) recently published further facts about 1080. Any animals, states the AJP, including humans that ingest 1080 will die a slow, painful death. There is no known antidote. The toxin also causes birth defects and reduced fertility, as well as damage to the reproductive system, brain, heart and other organs.

It works by preventing the body’s muscles and organs from absorbing energy, resulting in failure of the lungs and heart, with a death typically lasting between 8–24 hours for birds and 2–4 days for large mammals.

The possibility of poisoning native non-target species like the endangered Tiger or Eastern Quoll or ground-digging marsupials like Potoroos, or omnivorous birds is strenuously denied by government authorities. There is a long-standing article of belief that most marsupials are immune to the poison, (excepting it seems, the possums that are regularly poisoned in New Zealand and Tasmania).

Potoroos more susceptible than rabbits?

The Animal Justice Party quotes research indicating that Potoroos are more susceptible to 1080 than introduced rabbits. Localised extinctions of Tiger Quolls were linked to 1080 baiting 20 years ago when politicians were informed by a government Threatened Species Scientific Committee. And yet, nothing changes.  The AJP is under no illusion that lobbying by sheep farmers isn’t related to this toxic warfare, noting there are alternative ways to ward off foxes and dogs.

The above discussion includes an edited extract from the forthcoming book by author and journalist Maria Taylor about 250 years of commercial wildlife exploitation, removal and ‘management’ and its lethal legacy in Australia. ‘Injustice’ will be published later this year.


COMMENT

How many centuries do they need to develop alternative methods?

The Invasive Species Council, a loud and insistent advocate for the removal of brumbies from Australia’s high country, mostly with lethal outcomes — although perhaps shying away from the appalling outcomes of aerial shooting — has come out in public defence of 1080. Until alternatives are found, says a media release, it must be used to save endangered species. It does not add: species pushed to the brink since 1788.

This begs the question of how many more decades or indeed centuries of target animal suffering have to pass before citizen foes of introduced animals join forces with landholders and government agencies to put in place already available solutions.

To its credit, The Invasive Species Council via a commissioned report, then lists some solutions:    

  •  Develop and deploy more-humane and effective ways of controlling harmful introduced animals.
  •  Design long-term control programs that minimise the overall number of introduced animals killed — for example, by eradicating or substantially suppressing their populations or by intervening ecologically to help native animals withstand invasive pressures (for example, by protecting dingoes where they suppress cats and foxes). 
  •  Improve monitoring to ascertain whether 1080 baiting (and other methods) achieve conservation goals and are cost effective.
  •  Strive to better understand (where feasible) the welfare consequences of 1080 baiting, particularly for herbivores.
  •  Strengthen biosecurity prevention, eradication and containment to stop the establishment and spread of new introduced species, and therefore greater use of 1080.

The council also states that the report focuses only on the use of 1080 for protecting rare native wildlife, and not for farming or forestry. AND The Invasive Species Council does not support the use of 1080 to target native animals.

Perhaps readers might query The Invasive Species Council on their view therefore of baiting Dingos being rebadged as ‘wild dogs’. And how anyone can distinguish what hungry animal is taking the baits dropped from the air into burned-out habitats. As long as this poison stays legal and easily available, what do they think of landholders that privately spread 1080 baits around rural and rural residential areas, endangered neighbouring pet dogs at a minimum?

 

IMAGE SOURCES: Brushtail Possum, Ozflash/Dreamstime. Dingo, Susan Cruttenden. Dusky Pademelon, Craig Russell/Dreamstime. Quoll, Craigrjd/Dreamstime.

 

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Dingo (Wild Dog) baiting in Southeastern Australia and Bushfire Recovery

Dear Minister/s,

17 February 2020

The Honourable Sussan Ley MP
Minister for Environment, Australia
Address: Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600
minister.ley@environment.gov.au

cc: The Honourable David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Australia
(
minister.littleproud@agriculture.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Victoria (
lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Agriculture, Victoria
(
jaclyn.symes@parliament.vic.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Matthew Kean MP, Minister for Energy and Environment, New
South Wales (
office@kean.minister.nsw.gov.au)
cc: The Honourable Adam Marshall MP, Minister for Agriculture, New South Wales
(
adam.marshall@parliament.nsw.gov.au)
cc: Dr Sally Box, Threatened Species Commissioner
(
ThreatenedSpeciesCommissioner@environment.gov.au)

The undersigned wish to express our expert opinion on the status of dingoes across Australia in light of the current bushfire emergency. At the time of writing, more than 10 million hectares has been burnt across Australia, including 1.2 million hectares in Victoria and 4.9 million hectares in New South Wales. Across southeastern Australia this represents burning of major dingo habitat zones in National Parks and State Forests. We commend the Federal, NSW and VIC State Governments for their focus on assisting fauna and flora recovery after the catastrophic 2019/2020 bushfire season, however, the proposed ‘feral predator’ aerial baiting plans are counterproductive to that aim. In particular, we wish to express concern about plans to undertake widespread 1080 “wild dog” aerial baiting across burnt habitat in NSW and VIC.

The prevailing wisdom is that introduced predators such as foxes and feral cats pose the most significant risk to native fauna (marsupials, birds, reptiles etc). These risks need to be proactively and swiftly managed to protect (already struggling) threatened species that have been endangered by recent bushfires. We agree that proactive measures to limit introduced predators may need to be taken but these should be targeted and not endanger native predators such as quolls, dingoes and varanids. Currently proposed aerial baiting programs will not target cats, leaving threatened species under increased pressure from these predators. It is also important to iterate that “wild dog” baiting will kill dingoes, leading to widespread mesopredator release, removing suppressive pressure on cat and fox populations exerted by dingoes.

Aerial baiting in bushfire affected southeastern Australia is an unacceptable risk to native carnivores Aerial baiting with 1080 poison poses an unacceptable risk to native predators such as quolls, dingoes and varanids because it is unknown if food scarcity in burnt landscape may increase bait consumption leading to poisoning of quolls or varanids. Furthermore, dingoes are highly susceptible to 1080 baiting and are included as a direct target of “wild dog” baiting efforts. Importantly, best-practice guidelines to limit 1080 baiting impacts on quolls suggests that all baits should be buried to a depth of more than 10 cm andaerial or broadcast surface baiting should only be used in areas where it can
be demonstrated that there is a low risk to spot-tailed quoll populations
(EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.4 — Significant impact guidelines for the endangered spot-tailed quoll Dasyurus maculatus maculatus (southeastern mainland population) and the use of 1080). Currently it is unknown how quolls and other non-target species will be impacted by aerial baiting in burnt habitat. Arguably, the recently proposed NSW “wildlife and conservation bushfire recovery” plan should be referred to the Federal Environment Minister under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for assessment.

We strongly emphasise the ecological importance of terrestrial apex predators in  biodiversity resilience and ecosystem functioning. Dingoes are the sole non-human land-based top predator on the Australian mainland. Their importance to the ecological health and resilience of Australian ecosystems cannot be overstated, from regulating wild herbivore abundance (e.g. various kangaroo species), to reducing the impacts of feral mesopredators (cats, foxes) on native marsupials (Johnson & VanDerWal 2009; Wallach et al. 2010; Letnic et al. 2012; Letnic et al. 2013; Newsome et al. 2015; Morris & Letnic 2017). It would be hypothesised that continued dramatic reduction of dingo populations, by aerial baiting, will enable introduced mesopredators such as foxes and cats to exploit burnt areas unchecked, posing a high risk to threatened native species. The impacts of feral cats and red foxes are likely to be amplified in disturbed ecosystems, such as those burnt by bushfires. Indiscriminate and non-target specific lethal management should not be implemented if there is a risk to the persistence of threatened native fauna or ecosystem resilience.

We would urge the Federal, NSW and VIC State Governments to focus bushfire recovery efforts on proactive evidence-based measures including:

Installation of exclusion fences to protect recovering vegetation and wildlife communities (short-term)

Targeting lethal control measures to key refuge areas and important sites for remaining populations of threatened species

Limiting lethal control to targeted methods such as shooting, trapping or ground-baiting where steps are taken to limit non-target bait consumption

Providing supplemental shelter, food and water to identified remaining populations of threatened species

Increasing post-fire weed control to protect regeneration efforts.

 

DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
to continue reading from top p3, (Dingoes have a fundamental …)

 

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24 scientists wrote to these officials about flawed and cruel aerial baiting with 1080 poison

dingo-1080-baiting-feb-2019-susan-cruttenden

(underway now in NSW, regardless)

17 February 2020

To:   The Honourable Sussan Ley MP Minister for Environment, Australia
Address: Parliament House  CANBERRA ACT  2600
(minister.ley@environment.gov.au)

cc: The Honourable David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Australia (minister.littleproud@agriculture.gov.au)

cc: The Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Victoria (lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au)

cc: The Honourable Jaclyn Symes, Minister for Agriculture, Victoria (jaclyn.symes@parliament.vic.gov.au)

cc: The Honourable Matthew Kean MP, Minister for Energy and Environment, New South Wales (office@kean.minister.nsw.gov.au)

cc: The Honourable Adam Marshall MP, Minister for Agriculture, New South Wales (adam.marshall@parliament.nsw.gov.au)

cc: Dr Sally Box, Threatened Species Commissioner (ThreatenedSpeciesCommissioner@environment.gov.au)

Re: dingo (wild dog) baiting in South-eastern Australia and bushfire recovery

Dear Minister/s,

The undersigned wish to express our expert opinion on the status of dingoes across Australia in light of the current bushfire emergency. At the time of writing, more than 10 million hectares has been burnt across Australia, including 1.2 million hectares in Victoria and 4.9 million hectares in New South Wales. Across south-eastern Australia this represents burning of major dingo habitat zones in National Parks and State Forests.

[Signatories are experts from the following fields: predator ecology, biology, archaeology, cultural heritage, social science, humanities, animal behaviour and genetics].

We commend the Federal, NSW and VIC State Governments for their focus on assisting fauna and flora recovery after the catastrophic 2019֪–2020 bushfire season, however, the proposed ‘feral predator’ aerial baiting plans are counterproductive to that aim.

In particular, we wish to express concern about plans to undertake widespread 1080 “wild dog” aerial baiting across burnt habitat in NSW and VIC.


No existing knowledge — impacts on native predators, eg quolls, dingos and goannas

Aerial baiting with 1080 poison poses an unacceptable risk to native predators such as quolls, dingoes and varanids because it is unknown if food scarcity in burnt landscape may increase bait consumption leading to poisoning of quolls or varanids. Furthermore, dingoes are highly susceptible to 1080 baiting and are included as a direct target of “wild dog” baiting efforts.

Importantly, best-practice guidelines to limit 1080 baiting impacts on quolls suggests that all baits should be buried to a depth of more than 10cm and “aerial or broadcast surface baiting should only be used in areas where it can be demonstrated that there is a low risk to spot-tailed quoll populations.” (EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.4 — Significant impact guidelines for the endangered spot-tailed quoll Dasyurus maculatus maculatus (southeastern mainland population) and the use of 1080.)

Currently it is unknown how quolls and other non-target species will be impacted by aerial baiting in burnt habitat. Arguably, the recently proposed NSW “wildlife and conservation bushfire recovery” plan should be referred to the Federal Environment Minister under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for assessment.


Killing dingos exactly wrong thing to do if you want to suppress cats and foxes

Dingoes are the sole non-human land-based top predator on the Australian mainland. Their importance to the ecological health and resilience of Australian ecosystems cannot be overstated, from regulating wild herbivore abundance (eg various kangaroo species), to reducing the impacts of feral mesopredators (cats, foxes) on native marsupials (Johnson & VanDerWal 2009; Wallach et al. 2010; Letnic et al. 2012; Letnic et al. 2013; Newsome et al. 2015; Morris & Letnic 2017).

It would be hypothesised that continued dramatic reduction of dingo populations, by aerial baiting, will enable introduced mesopredators such as foxes and cats to exploit burnt areas unchecked, posing a high risk to threatened native species. The impacts of feral cats and red foxes are likely to be amplified in disturbed ecosystems, such as those burnt by bushfires. Indiscriminate and non-target specific lethal management should not be implemented if there is a risk to the persistence of threatened native fauna or ecosystem resilience.

Aerial baiting in bushfire affected south-eastern Australia is an unacceptable risk to native carnivores.


Here’s what SHOULD be happening post fire

We would urge the Federal, NSW and VIC State Governments to focus bushfire recovery efforts on proactive evidence-based measures including:

  • Installation of exclusion fences to protect recovering vegetation and wildlife communities (short-term).
  • Targeting lethal control measures to key refuge areas and important sites for remaining populations of threatened species.
  • Limiting lethal control to targeted methods such as shooting, trapping or ground-baiting where steps are taken to limit non-target bait consumption.
  • Providing supplemental shelter, food and water to identified remaining populations of threatened species.
  • Increasing post-fire weed control to protect regeneration efforts.

READ THE FULL DOCUMENT HERE.

IMAGE: Susan Cruttenden.

 

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Poisoned pills showered on burned parks and reserves, NSW

THE RECENT BUSHFIRES in eastern Australia have had an apocalyptic impact on the natural environment and wildlife, as the whole world now knows. What most Australians and overseas wildlife friends don’t know is some of the troubling response by state authorities.

wildlife-cons-bushfire-recoveryThe NSW government has devised a plan called The Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery Plan put forward by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment with management by NSW National Parks. Sounds benign and much of it is.

The suffering of some wildlife and the needs of citizen rescuers have been recognised in the plan’s proposed financial assistance to individuals and organisations, as well as with money for food drops and watering stations in areas of inaccessible bushland. Some good recovery actions are planned, see document link below for the department’s ‘Bushfire Recovery Plan’.

But there is a darker side — bringing new pain and death, thanks to Australia’s traditional lethal approach to managing predators and other animals inconvenient to agriculture, or indeed just Australian ideas of wildlife management.

The department’s plan has a list of threatened and vulnerable native animals suffering from habitat loss, scarcity of food and water, and threats of predation by feral animals — including the Mountain Pygmy Possum, the Greater Glider, the White-footed Dunnart, the Stuttering Frog, and some wallabies. Rescue operations are named also for Platypus, Grey-headed flying foxes, Booroolong frogs, genetically important Koalas from the Blue Mountains region, Manning River Helmeted Turtles, Northern Corroboree Frogs. Well and good.

But missing from the check list of animals that the authorities care about are more common species including larger kangaroos and wombats, birds of prey, and the Australian native dog the Dingo. Indeed, the dingo as a ‘wild dog’ and a list of non-native animals are the target of a shooting and poisoning campaign being launched on burned-out parks and reserves for the coming year, ostensibly to save the above threatened species.

The poisoning blizzard has been spun by departmental aides armed with a barrage of statistics as being essential to benefit these vulnerable native animals.

Is that so?

History has made neighbouring landholders more enquiring and worried. One neighbouring landholder, worried for her own rescued animals and companion dogs, told the AWPC she learned from a state worker that the traditional motive for poisoning campaigns — sheep farmers lobbying National Parks to kill canine predators — is also at work here.

It appears that dingos have simply been re-classified as wild dogs for the purposes of baiting which has been par for the course by the government’s Local Land Services for some time.

The Australian dingo among non-native animals targeted by shooting and poisoning campaign on burned-out public lands. Neighbours worry.

Animals listed to be killed are dogs, foxes, cats, deer, pigs, goats and rabbits. When broadscale lethal management is on the mind of authorities they reach for the gun and for 1080 poison.

1080 banned in most of the world

1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) occurs naturally in some plants as a defence. It is considered so nasty a poison against mammals that it has been banned in most countries of the world nowadays and is accused of deleterious effects on a wider range of species beyond mammals. 1080 is used liberally in New Zealand and also in Australia because it is cheap and readily applied being colourless, odourless and tasteless so readily eaten by various species when in appealing baits.

Animals that take in 1080 die a prolonged and agonising death whether directly or as non-target species including scavenging dogs and birds. A “scientific” experiment on the effects of 1080 poison on baited dingoes gave detailed accounts of vomiting, manic behaviour, convulsions and fits over a period of a time from hours to days.

Many landholders have been agonised by a similar death of their pet dogs when living near baited state or private land.

RELATED STORY:
After the fires, 1080 baits pose new problem for animal sanctuary.

By Michael Weaver, Riot Act!

National Parks’ killing plan to run for 12 months, shooting and baiting. One million 1080 baits ready. Who pays and who benefits?

  • 1,500–2,000 hours of aerial shooting
  • localised follow-up and ground shooting
  • up to 60,000 kilometres of aerial baiting
  • deployment of up to 1,000,000 baits

Dingo defender Susan Cruttenden from the NSW South Coast asks:

How can dingoes and other carnivorous native animals such as the Spotted Quoll be given any sort of protection in what one official called “core areas” when they have been driven away from their regular habitats by fear, fire and hunger?

The department said in response to questions from Cruttenden:

 “Aerial baiting for wild dogs is designed to avoid core remote areas in parks where dingoes cause no harm, allowing dingoes to maintain their ecological function in these areas.

“Scientific research has shown native animals including lace monitors and birds have a high tolerance to 1080. Research has also shown that aerial baiting does not significantly impact quolls populations.

“Aerial baiting will comply with all relevant codes of practice and regulations, and will be informed by a risk assessment. Work will be carried out by an experienced National Parks and Wildlife Service staff team that has been delivering aerial baiting for two decades.”

The responses add more questions and beg for sources of the Quoll research for example. Core areas and harm? Core areas of National Parks were burned as well, so recovering wildlife there no worry with wild dogs?

Cruttenden repeats what other research has found — there are more effective and more humane ways of protecting farmers’ livestock from dingoes and other predatory animals. The apex predator role in nature is another issue.

One sheep farmer we know of uses Alpaca guards and it works. A more holistic farming method includes the whole natural biodiversity from the soil up. Not killing native prey wallabies and kangaroos, or predators has worked on these farms with a balance established.

In defence of the dingo and Australian biodiversity

Charming the visitor at the Toolern Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre. Image: Allan Baxter.

Canus lupus dingo has survived in Australia for thousands of years, is revered by indigenous people as a totem animal, and admired by people who have protected and cared for it in homes and sanctuaries.

The dingo is also highly regarded by scientists and ecologists for its unique qualities and the vital role it plays as apex-predator in the wild.

Dingoes are recognised as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and National Resources, an organisation which has world renowned naturalist David Attenborough as its patron. Estimates of the number of dingoes in the wild vary greatly because of the vast areas to be covered.

Australia’s biodiversity is crashing, independent of bushfires

Animal eradication plans are among the concerns of the 248 Australian scientists who wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in late 2019 urging strong leadership to arrest the rapid decline in the number of native species and the break-down of  natural eco-systems.


Sign the Change.org petition #BAN1080
AGAINST 1080 THAT HAS ALREADY GARNERED 28,000+ SIGNATURES

— and PASS IT ON

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