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Chronic toxicity of 1080 and its implications for conservation management: a New Zealand case study

By S. A. Weaver

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Abstract

Sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) is a mammalian pesticide used in different parts of the world for the control of mammalian pest species. In New Zealand it is used extensively and very successfully as a conservation management tool for the control of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) - an introduced marsupial that has become a substantial agricultural and conservation management pest. Possums pose a threat to cattle farming in New Zealand as they are a vector for bovine tuberculosis. In protected natural areas, possum browsing is responsible for large scale defoliation of native vegetation. As with many other pesticides, there has been some degree of popular concern about the use of this toxin and its safety, with particular reference to non-target effects. These concerns have been associated with potential non-target effects on human health, and the health of animals of recreational value (e.g., hunting dogs and game animals). This has led to the development of a strong "anti-1080" lobby in New Zealand. In contrast, this study encompasses a science-based risk analysis focusing on the potential risks to non-target native wildlife with a particular focus on chronic toxicity. It finds that there is evidence that 1080 may have endocrine disrupting capabilities (with potential relevance for non-target wildlife) but that this still needs more detailed investigation. This can be clarified by further targeted research. Further research is also needed to test the degradation rates of 1080 and its breakdown products at ecologically-relevant temperatures (i.e., winter stream temperatures - below 11 degrees C). Such research may demonstrate that some adjustment to 1080 risk management is warranted in New Zealand, or it may help to put to rest the current controversy over the use of this cost effective conservation management tool.

Date 2006
Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 19
Issue 4
Pages 367-389
ISBN/ISSN 1187-7863
DOI 10.1007/s10806-006-9001-1
Language English
Author Address Environmental Studies, School of Earth Sciences, Victoria University, 600 Wellington, New Zealand. Sean.Weaver@vuw.ac.nz
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Tags
  1. Australasia
  2. Carnivores
  3. Cattle
  4. Commonwealth of Nations
  5. Conservation
  6. Developed countries
  7. Diseases
  8. Dogs
  9. Game animals
  10. Hunting dogs
  11. Mammals
  12. Marsupials
  13. New Zealand
  14. nontarget effects
  15. nontarget organisms
  16. Oceania
  17. OECD countries
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. Pesticides and Drugs
  20. Pests.
  21. possums
  22. Primates
  23. Ruminants
  24. toxicity
  25. toxicology
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed