Sounds of silence

With reference to the ongoing 1080 debate, during the 1970s and 80s I was employed by the New Zealand Wildlife Service and, in latter years the Department of Conservation, with responsibilities for gamebird management in the Southern Lakes area.

During this time I autopsied many California quail, chukor and other bird species that had died as a result of ingesting 1080 – in particular green-dyed carrot baits. These birds were handed to me by hunters, farmers and concerned members of the public.

In particular, the chukor – a relatively uncommon gamebird – were suckers for carrot bait, and their declining numbers bore evidence of this. I spent much time in areas after these poisoning operations.

A deathly quiet reigned. The sounds of silence comes to mind.

D Marquand, Otumoetai.




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