Possum. The Common Brushiest Possum(Trichinosis plateau) is the main target of 1080 in New Zealand is. While it has originally been protected upon its introduction to New Zealand in the sass’s for fur sales, it now remains the most common and issue-causing pest. It is mainly a folklore, meaning its diet consist of leaves, especially of the eucalyptus tree, but also prays on small animals such as rats ND chicks – which is one of the main problems of its proliferation in New Zealand. One of the main problems with Possums is their part in the spread of Bovine tuberculosis(TAB). It is a common and highly infectious disease most commonly found in cattle and possums and if left untreated, causes death. Possums, being the main source of TAB in New Zealand, are a big threat to not only cattle, but also humans when infected by it. They are responsible for around most of all the infection cases. 7, known as the Krebs cycle, which is the main metabolic pathway involved in the diabolism and providing energy for the body from the substrate or solar radiation. Once the cycle is stopped by the poison, a derivation of energy for the cells to function occurs. When the body is completely drained of energy either a respiratory or heart failure occurs. 10 The 1080 poison is very effective – one aerial application can kill up to 98% of possums and 90% of rats in the targeted area. Al Rats are one of the other biggest introduced pests which threaten the survival of native species. 12 After the death of either rat or possum, they may be consumed by another animal aging collateral damage to other pests by secondary poisoning.
This convenient triple hit of the main native species predators allows birds to increase their population. Research has shown that the nesting success improved after 1080 aerial operations. 13 Of course one of the many major problems is side kill, because not only pests, but farm, wild and even protected animals will consume the poison/dead body with poison in the system. Introducing the first problem of 1080: Accidental consumption by other animals. 1080 is very humane as it only causes quiet death from heart or lung failure.
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Unfortunately it is also toxic for cats and dogs, which can go through convulsions before they die. Local pet owners are advised to keep away from areas treated with poison and also the vets are warned before the aerial drops are carried out. The birds are often killed by directly eating the baits and some predator birds by eating the dead animal, which has consumed 1080. Most of these deaths are connected with 4 operations carried out 35 years ago due to poor quality with baits. As the poison persists in the bodies of dead animals, it is a threat to non- intended targets.
It can take up to 7 days for all the poison to be eliminated from the body of the poisoned possum. This by-kill is unfortunately inevitable with every pest control, but limitable by increasing ground use where the bait stations are specially designed and placed so that only targeted pests can access them. 1080 can kill all kinds of animals, but that is the price we pay for this very effective poison. 14 It has been suggested by the 1080 contra organizations, such as United future, that after entering waterways and the animal’s body, it may cause devastating consequence to eat export trade. 5 However once in water, it biodegrades into products that lose the toxicity within 2- 6 days, but the breakdown time is considerably slowed by colder conditions. 16, 17 Areas within 50 meter of a waterway are not allowed to be treated with 1080. After the alarming reports of the opposing organizations in the past 20 years, saying that distance is not enough, water has been tested and the results are comforting. Water samples were taken from water supplies and natural waterways for testing by Landward Research for the presence of any traces of 1080.
These trials ere carried out 24 hours after the aerial drops took place and a total of 2, 537 water samples were tested and only 86 of them were diagnosed with 1080 traces. These samples were not taken from a drinking water supply. 18 On the few occasions when 1080 was found in the water, it was present for only a couple of days. 19 It must also be noted that the samples were taken precisely from the area where there was the most likely chance of detecting the poison in water. However, in my opinion, even “only’ 86 polluted water samples are a bit worrying.
As 1080 is biodegradable, it does to remain in the soil. Most operations are to be done in winter and spring – the wet effectively. The warm weather contributes to the degradation and on the other hand lower temperatures, such as C, can cause the bio-degradation to significantly slow down, as microbial action is slower. 20 The case of 1080 having any effect on humans is negligible because there has not been recorded any harm to human health or deaths. Although there is no antidote for poisoning with 1080, this is not by far the most discussed and feared problem.
Research has shown that 1080 is not the cause f cancer or birth defects. 21 Because of its natural existence humans have consumed 1080 in the original state for many hundreds of years and no significant harm has been done. A keg human would have to drink approximately 60, 000 litter of water containing a strong solution of 1080 in order to be exposed to risk. 22 The public have expressed their opposition of the wide use of 1080 and the possibility of it appearing in the food chain therefore contaminating the waterways and environment.
However evidence suggests that many of these concerns are unfounded and these risks can e lowered by selection of the safer application method. Aerial application rates of 1080 are used much less than in the past, eliminating the risks of any additional damage by the poison. 23 1 have chosen a example of pro and anti organizations: Department of conservation(DOC) is the second biggest user of 1080 in New Zealand. In their opinion it is a very beneficial way of limiting the pest population because of its cost effectiveness, biodegrading and efficiency.
They are open about the disadvantages, as it is reminded on their website that pest control methods without stagnates do not exist. Planning on reduction of the amount of bait applied per hectare, the DOC fine-tunes the use of 1080. 25 Opposing this opinion is the organization SAFE – The voice for all animals with their ‘1080 is cruel and damaging the clean image of New Zealand’ approach. The suggested cruel effect of 1080 is slow death and the final statement: “1080 is not a humane way to kill any animal. Death is painful, torturous and slow. ” summarizes their opinion of the poison.
Even though 1080 is the most effective poison for solving the possum problem so far, many lions of dollars has gone into research on potential alternatives. The most common view is that 1080 is the best we have until an alternative is discovered. However we must consider other views such as: The cultural view on 1080 of the Maori population in New Zealand is strongly affected by their concern for the animals and food safety. Of course as stated before the fluorescent is harmless as it occurs naturally in many plants which are also used for tea drunk by many New Slanderer. The 1080 is no different to the natural toxin. 6 Although the thought of idea poison t animals, killing innocent and native species in the process is not considered the ‘right’ thing to do in Just about any ethical views, in my opinion a poison is absolutely imperative in this situation as the continuing multiplication of pests destroys forests, spreads disease and kills other native species. 1080 is perfect for this as a very effective poison. From the economical view we can say 1080 prospects New Zealand very much in the ways of tourism and farming. To protect our natural heritage, the necessity to eliminate its pests is indispensable. 080 also protects the cattle from TAB ND that is one of the major issues effecting the farming economy. After using 1080 the number of infected cattle herds has dropped significantly. 27 Trapping may be used as one of the alternatives, however that is considered very cruel and to reduce suitable for traps and it is not very practical on a large scale as to check the traps on tens of hectares, would take one day while 1080 can cover tens of thousands of hectares within one drop, therefore this method would not be very efficient. The contraceptive vaccines are a way to control the possum population without the offering. Ways of delivering the vaccine have been suggested: Empty bacterial cells can be genetically engineered to trick the possum’s immune system into attacking its own reproductive functions resulting in the possum’s lowered fertility or infertility. Unfortunately these cells cannot reproduce and spread themselves through the possum population and would have to be delivered in baits to each one. This would be one of the perfect solutions, had the cells been able to reproduce. Unfortunately this would be as effective as trapping or applying ground bait.
Plants may also be unethically engineered to produce molecules which make possums less fertile and would be delivered as baits. Also not very effective. A parasite worm specific to possums which can be genetically engineered to cause the possum’s immune system to attack their own reproductive cells. These parasites would remain alive and transmit through the possum population. This seems as the best solution, with the only problem as the possibility of the parasite making its way back to Australia and causing infertility on their native possum populations. 28 1 support the use of 1080 for couple of reasons.
I think it serves the Job with very few side accidents such as, even though dangerous, but only very occasional water poisoning, very little and greatly reduced by-kill with the newer technology of applying and negligible effect on humans. I think that the use of 1080 should be continued but improved. Research should be dedicated to: bigger precision on the aerial drop, what other products attract only possums and how 1080 may be adjusted so that it is Just as harmless as the natural version but breaks down faster in water and digestive systems after Seibel accidental ingestion.
The gap between the economical and biological implication must also be considered. Is New Zealand willing to drop any poison that is cheap but damages the environment? The applied pesticide must be in balanced between those two and after research I believe 1080 is. It has been used for quite a long time and has developed significantly only becoming better and better after every research done and is not very far from almost no side effects at all. Surely there have been opposing organizations since the first day of its use but there will always e an opposing opinion for something.
It all depends on which view is the most important for that side. I have shaped my opinions based on everything I have read while making this assignment. Even after considering how fast pests and especially Possums breed(l offspring per year after 17 days of pregnancy), I believe that 1080 is the best option we have so far. However if the contraceptive vaccines develop and are as easily applicable as the aerially dropped 1080, then I believe that would be the better option in the ethical, cultural, biological and environmental view.