In 2011 Commissioner Wright conducted an independent and thorough investigation into the use of 1080. She carefully judged evidence gathered from many sources, and concluded that 1080 is both a safe and effective tool in the fight to protect our native birds.
In particular, 1080 is by far the best weapon we have in combating the massive increase in rat and stoat numbers that follow a mast event. A mast event occurred in 2015 and the Department of Conservation initiated a ‘Battle for Our Birds’ campaign to combat it, with great success. Another mast event occurred in 2019, and 1080 was again essential to holding the line in the life-and-death battle to save our native birds from predators.
New Zealand has one of the highest extinction rates of native species in the world, largely due to predation by introduced mammals. While trapping and other poisons are very important weapons in our fight against predators, it is only 1080 that has the capacity to deal with the booming populations of predators seen in mast years.
While New Zealand is not alone in facing a challenge to protect its native species, we cannot afford to underestimate the size of the problem. Around 90 per cent of our birds and insects are found nowhere else in the world, along with 80 per cent of our plants and all of our 60 reptiles, four frogs and three bats.
Commissioner Wright called for significant efforts to deal with introduced predators, including the use of 1080 in controlling pest numbers. In this explore section you can discover more about her work in this important area.