DoC investigating possible 1080 cow deaths

The Department of Conservation (DoC) is investigating the deaths of eight cattle following a 1080 aerial drop near Te Kuiti. 

DoC says the cattle breached a fence line on the Mapara Wildlife Reserve, about 35 kilometres from the Waikato town, and entered into the pest control area.

The pest control operation took place on September 6 to target rats, stoats and possums.  Over the past 30 years pest control in the area has frequently been carried out to reduce the number of predators and protect endangered kōkako.

DoC took samples of the dead animals and is expecting results back within the next fortnight. It is also working with the landowner to ascertain how the cattle could have breached the fenceline.

DoC Operations Director David Speirs says a review of operational data shows the aerial drop went according to plan and as agreed with all adjacent landowners.

However anti 1080 activists claim the cattle were killed after the aerial drop of the poison went outside the drop's buffer zone.

DoC investigating possible 1080 cow deaths
Photo credit: Supplied/Facebook

Carol Sawyer posted pictures of the cattle on Facebook and said a neighbouring farmer found the cattle dead on the 9th September with 1080 poison baits all over the paddocks, the post reads. 

But Mr Speirs said the helicopter's GPS flight lines show there was no over-flight of the adjacent farm area and there was a 50-metre buffer within the operational area in place.

"We have been working closely with the landowner concerned to confirm exactly what happened and also to support them as any good neighbour would under these circumstances with the burial of the dead animals and we have offered to assist with feed for the remaining animals."

Mr Speirs says during a pre-flight of the operational boundary a fortnight before the drop, DoC staff noted stock in the operational area and advised the farmer to remove the stock.