NZMCA must withdraw its agreement with DoC and Kea Conservation Trust.

NZMCA must withdraw its agreement with DoC and Kea Conservation Trust.

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Ursula Edgington started this petition to New Zealand Motor Caravan Association Inc

We, the undersigned, are financial members of and/or otherwise affiliated with the NZMCA and strongly object to the club’s announcement that an agreement has been made between NZ Dept of Conservation and the Kea Conservation Trust. Our objections are twofold:

1)      The financial support of organisations that support the use of aerial poison operations with sodium monofluoroacetate (compound 1080) is unethical, on the basis it is well established 1080 poison operations repeatedly kill the rare native parrot, the kea (and other species). Death by 1080 poison is inhumane.

2)      The way that the announcement of this partnership was handled was unacceptable because hundreds of legitimate comments and questions about the agreement on social media were censored and subsequently members who asked why their comment had been deleted were blocked.

The Board of the NZMCA needs to be reminded that it is the members who form the club and that genuine concerns from members deserve to be heard, not dismissed out of hand.

Context:

Kea are the canary down the 1080 coal mine. Hard to ignore when they previously had strong populations—even with a bounty on their beaks and in the presence of introduced mammals. It’s not stoats, lead nails or chocolate. It’s pest control. Stay out of their habitat and let’s offer them some real protection for once by not inferring with these intelligent birds.

NZ DoC’s Amber Bill, is quite right to say the death of half of monitored birds found after drop doesn’t mean half of the entire population in the drop zone are dead. In fact, it could be more than that. Worth noting too that DoC says data showing the loss of 50% of monitored birds can't be extrapolated to the wider population. Oddly though, nesting success apparently can be? What’s more, DoC is unsure of the kea population in the area but says that the numbers are improving following 1080 poison drops.

DoC cannot have it both ways. 

Parrots and many other birds are indiscriminate feeders. They feed by foraging. It is ridiculous to say they must be trained to try new food. DoC is passing blame; it’s almost victim blaming to say the kea mustn’t eat their poison baits. Like many wild birds, Kea just try to find food and they’re omnivorous. This indiscriminate feeding is also why sea birds end up full of plastic. Nobody is out there training them to eat it. Birds and other animals don’t expect poison or contaminated food. They may evolve to learn to avoid certain toxic plants—but not cereal baits made enticing with sugars in them. We are doing something unnatural. 1080 Poison is Filthy Conservation. Some further info about Kea deaths is published here: https://1080science.co.nz/time-to-think-about-kea/

We understand that hundreds of members have already cancelled their membership as a direct result of this agreement with DoC. More cancellations will inevitably follow. Reasons for members strong objections to the agreement are complex, but one reason is likely connected to the large percentage of NZMCA members who are pet owners. The widespread aerial use of 1080 poison presents a serious risk to dogs from primary and secondary poisoning. Toxic carcasses and poisonous baits also negatively detract from members’ enjoyment of the natural environment, and also their health and well-being. Even though 1080 poison operations have continued to increase in geographical location, toxicity and recurrence, no epidemiological studies have been undertaken.

An example of recent research findings about dog deaths from 1080 are available here: https://www.facebook.com/1080PetitionNZ/posts/1356353264549298 and here: https://1080science.co.nz/at-least-65-dogs-in-a-year-poisoned-by-1080-in-new-zealand/

Photo by Karl Anderson on Unsplash

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