20 Oct 2011

1080 incident report issued

5:45 am on 20 October 2011

The Environmental Protection Authority reported 34 incidents and complaints on the use of 1080 poison in its fourth annual report on the substance.

The figure has doubled compared with last year's report.

Members of the public interfering with 1080 operations, such as removing bait and warning signs, accounted for 16 of the incidents.

1080 is used throughout New Zealand to control possums and other wildlife that threaten native species or spread bovine tuberculosis.

The report covers aerial operations in 2010 and research up to July this year.

The Animal Health Board, which is responsible for the bovine TB strategy, which includes 1080 drops, says it's concerned by the rise in protest actions.

Chief executive William McCook says protesters are putting themselves and others at great risk.

He says 1080 operations can involve the use of helicopters and when protesters do things like storming helicopter loading sites and remove signage the risks are real.

Mr McCook says there have now been some significant reports that have been released publicly that confirm and support the use of 1080, so it's hoped this will see a decrease in the amount of protest action and in those putting themselves at risk.

The Environmental Protection Agency says 45 aerial drops were carried out on 440,000 hectares of land in the past year.