EPA releases findings on Mapara 1080 operation
06 December 2019
An aerial 1080 operation that was linked to the deaths of eight cattle in the King Country substantially complied with the relevant controls and procedures, an enquiry has found.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) pest control operation was conducted over the Mapara Wildlife Reserve – 1,400 hectares of Conservation estate 35 kilometres southeast of Te Kuiti – in September 2018.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded, on the balance of evidence, that livestock owned by farmers Mark and Paula Stone entered the operational area where the 1080 was dropped via an insecure fence and ate the poison.
The scope of the EPA’s enquiry was to determine whether the operation was compliant with Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act controls and procedures, and determine the circumstances of the cattle deaths.
The Authority identified one breach by DOC of its standard operating procedures, where they did not advise the Stones of a decision to exclude a pocket of bush which the Stones had earlier consented to include in the operation. It was determined that this breach however, was not a factor in the cattle deaths.
The report makes a set of recommendations intended to improve the consultation process for aerial 1080 operations by providing more clarity for operators and landowners. They include the use of higher quality mapping, and better information about how 1080 behaves once spread, in terms of bioaccumulation and biodegradation. Improvements to information, particularly for farmers, regarding “withholding periods”, caution periods, and label and signage requirements, are also recommended.
In the months preceding the operation, DOC staff gained permission from farmers Mark and Paula Stone to extend its operation onto 65 ha of bush on their land. The Stones’ property borders onto the Mapara Reserve. Three days after the operation, Mr and Mrs Stone found eight of their cows dead. Two months after the incident the EPA determined that it was appropriate to independently investigate the incident.
DOC and Mr and Mrs Stone, along with the Ministry of Health, Ministry for Primary Industries and WorkSafe, provided feedback on the enquiry report before it was finalised.
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Report and annexes to the report