In late winter this year (July/August), 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) will be aerially applied to around 21,500 hectares of parkland in the Hunua Ranges area, including Waharau and Whakatiwai regional parks and the Department of Conservation (DOC) administered Mangatawhiri Forest Conservation Area and Vining Scenic Reserve. A highly accurate satellite navigation system (GPS) and custom-designed bait applicators will be used to distribute the 1080 bait and ensure pellets are not spread outside the operational boundary or over excluded areas. Epro Ltd, an experienced pest control contractor will be used to carry out this work.
Most reported dog deaths occur after eating poisoned carcasses – not the bait itself – so it is important that dogs are closely supervised to ensure they do not enter the area being treated with 1080 or scavenge carcasses that may have come from the operational area following the operation.
Supervise, supervise and… supervise
Prevention against poisoning is always better than trying to treat a dog that has been poisoned.
If you suspect 1080 poisoning
Signs of poisoning may appear as soon as half an hour after ingesting poison or several hours later. Look out for:
Make the dog vomit immediately (see how over the page) and take the dog straight to the vet, warning them you are on your way.
All dog owners
- Do not allow your dog in and around the poisoned areas during the operation or in the caution period that follows. This includes:
- Waharau Regional Park and Whakatiwai Regional Park
- Mangatawhiri Forest Conservation Area (DOC) and Vining Scenic Reserve (DOC)
- If you must enter a poisoned area, keep your dog on a leash.
- Pig hunting permits will be suspended during the operation. Unauthorised hunting is not allowed in any of these parks at any time. Pig hunting will not resume until council is satisfied there is no longer a risk to dogs
Farmers who work their dogs in or around a 1080 treated area should take the following precautions until the all clear is given (this may be some months):
- Firstly, consider whether stock on your property can be managed without dogs. Keep your working dogs well fed. Feeding dogs meat rather than biscuits during and after a 1080 operation, may reduce their inclination to scavenge on dead possums.
- Kennel or chain your dogs when they are not working.
- Keep your dog on a leash when out working when this is possible.
Consider muzzling your dog
- If necessary, dogs can be muzzled.
- A muzzle may annoy a dog if it is not used to wearing it so its use needs to be gradually introduced.
- A muzzle may also result in heat stress during work. Dogs must be able to pant and be given the opportunity to drink, particularly in hot weather. Make sure you make provision for this.
- Dog owners with land adjacent to the operational area can request a muzzle from council. Please email HunuaProject@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz to make a request.
In the absence of an antidote for 1080 poisoning in dogs, simple emetic treatment is available and effective if it is administered within an hour of baits (or carcasses) being eaten. The risk is that wandering dogs may not return within this time, which means that restraining dogs is the only sure protection.
- Dog owners with land adjacent to the operational area can request emetic medication from council. Please email HunuaProject@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz to make a request.
- One or two crystals of washing soda (available from supermarkets) down the dog’s throat or half a teaspoon of salt thrown on the back of the dog’s tongue are also effective methods of inducing vomiting.
- Phone the vet as soon you have administered emetic treatment and immediately take the dog to the vet.
If you have questions or want to get in touch with Auckland Council’s Hunua project team, please phone us on 09 301 0101 or email HunuaProject@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.
Sources used throughout this fact sheet include npca.org.nz and doc.govt.nz