Kea have been in the news again, with TV1 viewers one Wednesday night (9/2/22) treated to the story that tradespeople are sought to help in kea habitat, replacing lead in roofs. This follows last October’s worrying Stuff News headline: “This Is How It Ends: As old as the Southern Alps, kea are on the edge of extinction” (Dom Post reporter Andrea Vance, October 2021)
by Scientist Dr Jo Pollard (BSc (Hons), PhD)
Kea in trouble – the lead issue
The Vance article on kea was also about lead.
A few days earlier, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan announced the two-year roofing project in a press release, stating that that kea were “in trouble” and “need all the help we can give them” (DoC, 2021).
Kea like eating lead, we’ve known that since last century (Jarrett, 1997). Roof lead replacement work has been happening for decades. Meanwhile, the Department of Conservation (DoC) hasn’t been so keen to acknowledge its own program of randomly spreading readily consumed lead shotgun pellets, an ounce and a half at a time in eight bite sized chunks, left on the mountainsides in and around the carcasses of tahr.
When the high numbers of those animals killed in its programmes are considered (10,000 in 2019) those actions would seem to display a remarkable lack of concern.
Smartest bird on the planet?
The kea is perhaps the smartest bird on earth, and the only alpine-dwelling parrot. Guardians of the mountains, to some Māori tribes. Estimates of kea numbers as low as 1000 have been made since 1986 (Bond & Diamond, 1992).
With a challenged population like that, thoughtful, informed protection of kea might be expected from their manager. Sadly however, DoC has failed with even the basics: incredibly – there has been no assessment of kea numbers and there is still no management plan.
No DoC planning
Kea researcher Paul van Klink called DoC out on its lack of a plan for kea in 2018 (Williams, 2018), telling Newsroom he was prepared to stop doing kea work, something he’d been involved with for years, because of DoC’s lack of leadership and the absence of a clear plan. “I’d rather be working on projects that I really see are making a difference.”
Newsroom’s reporter David Williams investigated this problem a little within DoC and found deep problems including accusations of a toxic culture and ignorant, unscientific managers. He also found that in 2015, Green MP MP Eugenie Sage had declared that the lack of a recovery plan for kea was evidence “we’re not taking protection seriously.”
Strangely, Sage failed to have a kea plan prepared in the three years she was Conservation Minister (2017-2020). Lead is known to cause memory loss – but usually only after it has been ingested!
Earlier last year, Stuff reported on a DoC press release about cats and stoats killing kea in Arthurs Pass National Park. Domestic cats had seemingly invaded from farms.
No Control-Just Experiments
DoC has not attempted to control the invading cats. Instead, it has been experimenting for two years and intends to carry on doing that for another three. The experimenters hunted down 45 kea, fitting harnesses with transmitters on them before waiting to see if they would be killed. Last year, 40% died.
Transmitter harnesses on birds —
- cause deaths from stress and entanglement
- markedly increase energy expenditure
- provide an easy grip for a predator.
Kea dying in DoC’s harness-wearing experiment are a terrible waste; nothing can be concluded about normal kea – DoC has fundamentally changed the experimental parameters and thrown the concept of good scientific method to the wind. DoC could have spent its resources usefully, controlling the invading cats – to save the native animals that were being eaten.
None of the publicity mentioned the massive killer of kea that could be stopped immediately: poison.
In the 1950’s a war started across NZ, in which poisonous food was distributed from aircraft, across farms, forests and mountains, targeting certain introduced mammals (mainly the possum, blamed as a threat to both conservation and farm animal health).
Generously funded by taxpayers, DoC has been poisoning furiously from the air. In the period from 2008 to 2020 it spread 1080 poison across 3,989,000 ha. The other major beneficiary in this lucrative poison war, TbFree, poisoned 3,903,000 ha. The poisonous cereal baits must be a welcome lolly scramble for kea. The preferred time for DoC’s poisoning is late winter/spring, which is a particularly difficult time in the mountains when many kea die from starvation.
The fact that kea were being killed by the poisonings was first recorded in 1963, with four found dead in the Dobson Valley, Canterbury. Unfortunately DoC has been prepared to overlook the on-going high death rates (in 2020, 50% of tracked kea at Matukituki (Mt Aspiring National Park), and the Wet Jacket area (Fiordland National Park) after poison was dropped in those areas. (All the figure are from DoC sources.)
Clumsy, ineffective policies
DoC’s clumsy attempts to get around the horrific kea death toll have included:
- a ban on spreading baits in open alpine zones, which was later removed
- broken promises that bird repellent would stop kea eating poisoned baits
- blaming the public for acquainting kea with human food (refuted by DoC’s own study: Kemp et al., 2016, unpublished)
- unscientific claims that ecology and kea numbers benefit from poisoning (scientific evidence supports the opposite (Pollard, 2016; 2017; Bell et al., 2021)
- years of invasive experiments capturing thousands of hours of video footage inside and outside hunted down, marked nests, with harnessed birds (notably, with very little evidence of predation found) (DoC, 2014).
The time and money spent by DoC on those fruitless activities destroyed the real opportunities to conduct non-invasive, useful studies of kea ecology and numbers, studies that could have enabled effective, responsible management strategies.
DoC is now highlighting lead and predation as causes for decline, while it poisons and harasses the remaining birds. If DoC doesn’t go away, the kea soon will.
Lew. Hore said:
The Kea Conservation Trust also support the DoC that Iead is killing kea and 1080 is quite safe. The photo of the dead kea in this article is one of seven kea out of 12 monitored kea poisoned in the same poison operation. I twice brought up the question of lead buckshot used for wild animal being a problem for kea and Tamsin Orr Walker at a KCT meeting in Te Anau admitted ” it could be a problem”
DOC are lying through their teeth. The demise of the Kea is because DOC are saturating the Southern Alps and the rest of New Zealand’s bush with 1080 poison and that is what is causing the Kea’s rapid decline in numbers. Clyde Graff has videos among other anti 1080 campaigners which shows what is really happening to the decline of all wildlife! Not just the so called targeted pests.
Geoff Guenole said:
It’s staggering what DOC do to Kea and then ignore the elephant in the room and blame lead head nails. 1080 is what kills them. If DOC are so worried about lead why shoot thar with lead balls in the ammo and then leave them for the Kea to eat. DOC are in a great position to do something but followed by a paid and gullible media just keep the poison train rolling along and change nothing. When there are no Kea left DOC will keep poisoning and wipe out other species as well. Dr Jo Pollard as told them but they never listen.
Pete Watson said:
I grew up in a town just on the outskirts of Blenheim in the 70s and 80s before moving off. In my photo albums I have loads of photos taken of the Kea. You would think these photos would be in the mountains no! Kea used to visit us at our primary school for a cheeky feed from the many kids, so clever that they attended at the correct interval times.
In those days there was kea on many rural farms just on the outskirts of Blenheim in the top of the south. One family in particular talks of the time they remember vividly in the early 80’s when a Govt agency poisoined the mounts behind their farm. all the kea were killed and vanished instantly never to return.
Returning to my photo albums of ski field trips to the Rainbow field in the Nelson lakes national park mid 80’s. These photos show 30 Kea or so in one photo coming down for handouts and to destroy the locals cars.The kea may have left the lowlands of Marlborough but were still in the mountains top of the South.
To sum up what has happened over the next 35 years where we have pushed the Kea to near extinction and to only exist at the bottom of the south island is disgusting. Blaming a few lead nails that were around a hundred or two years when numbers of Kea were sky high and culled by farmers with specific Kea guns is ridiculous.
There is only the one common factor of all areas Kea have vanished from and that is of Govt agency now being DOC and their bloody stupid irresponsible poisoning programmes. But hey dont listen to the people or the farmers that can exactly pinpoint the date time and demise of the species. Carry on listening to your classroom experienced experts that have proven they can only think they know whats best. Clearly its working you idiots DOC
Tony Orman said:
Yes Doc are either ignorant or devious. Kea were abundant right though most of 20th century until the decline set in after 1990. Trying to blame lead nails in hut roofs is absurd. Huts were built in first in 1860s and for 130 years keas and huts coexisted with kea abundant.
Any fool can see that. At one stage keas were subject to a kill and bounty system. They still remained plentiful.
But enter toxic 1080 baits and wild animal shooting using shotgun lead pellets in DOC animal slaughters and the kea decline set in.
Of course kea would swoop on toxic pellets. They are a a bird with a super curiosity. So wake up DOC. Look in the mirror, look at yourself and examine your consciences.
I have heard senior DOC scientists (e.g. D’Urville Island) talk absolute drivel on rats.
The scientist ignored research that after a 1080 drop surviving rats (15%?) explode in numbers and within 4 years are 3-4 times original numbers (Ruscoe 2007). DOCV has created massive population explosions in rats then following, stoat numbers as stoats are rat predators.
In summary, DOC has in a very major way disrupted the food chain and ecosystem with disastrous outcomes.
Excellent spoken Dr Jo Pollard.
Several native birds also hunt rats and mice, I have watched them do it. 1080 kills these native predators too.
Adam Craig said:
No, 1080 applications don’t kill native predators. In fact birds like falcons thrive in areas where 1080 is used to control pests, such as Kaingaroa Forest.
I am talking about Wekas.
Furthermore your comment that falcons thrive in areas where 1080 is used to kill the very prey of the faclon makes no sense. Surely if 1080 kills these peste there would be no food for the falcons to live off.
Charlie Baycroft said:
One of the many problems with bureaucracy is that the people in these organizations develop a peculiar institutionalized culture with its own beliefs, jargon and rituals.
It is well known that bureaucracies inevitably evolve to serve their own perceived needs instead of those of the people who are forced to pay their wages.
Solving a problem like declining numbers of Kea requires unbiased, scientific objectivity that does not exist in an institutionalized bureaucracy such as our Department of Conservation.
The managers and employees of DOC are totally indoctrinated and committed to the Predator Free NZ delusion and the use of 1080 (the only tool in their box) to achieve this objective.
The abundant objective evidence about the extreme toxicity and risks related to polluting the ecosystem with a toxic substance that can harm and kill all oxygen dependent forms of life is avoided, ignored, denied and rationalized by all involved in the poisoning.
There are many environmental agents that could be harmful to Kea and other species.
If an objective assessment of potentially lethal agents was made, 1080 would probably be the most lethal.
Predatory species like feral cats, stoats or ferrets might pose a threat to immature birds but mature Kea can probably avoid them. Cats are much more likely to choose mice instead of large strong birds with sharp beaks and claws.
Lead can be toxic if ingested over prolonged periods of time but its toxicity is minimal compared to chemicals like 1080 that have been designed to kill.
Human food must be a very minimal risk factor compared to poisoned baits designed to look like food.
A rational person might investigate the potential environmental threats to Kea by thinking about what would be most harmful to themselves and other species and seriously consider toxic chemical poisons as a very serious threat.
In the institutionalized culture of DOC this is not allowed and therefore any and all other potential factors must be blamed and “dealt with” at great expense and no potential benefit for the NZ workers who pay for it all.
Would I rather eat some 1080, a bit of lead or some human food?
Not so difficult to choose.
Sooner, but probably later, the people of NZ will realize that polluting their ecosystem with toxic chemical substances is destructive and dangerous.
That lesson was gradually learned in relation to 245T/dioxin decades ago but the politicians and bureaucrats of those times were the last to accept it.
The factual evidence of the dangers related to this massive pollution with 1080 and other poisons will eventually prevail but probably too late to save the Keas.
Adam Craig said:
This article is propaganda. Kea benefit from 1080 drops because their main nest predators, possums and stoats, are greatly reduced. Kea are ground nesters, under rocks and in burrows, etc. They do not defend their nests when a predator enters, so they are very vulnerable to predators. It is not possible to control these predators over millions of hectares of kea habitat by trapping, so aerial application of toxins is required. Plenty of research studies show that kea populations benefit from aerial 1080 applications, for example ‘Kea nesting improves after 1080 treatment’ http://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/battle-for-our-birds/battle-for-our-birds-monitoring-results/kea/ In the Perth valley in South Westland a double 1080 treatment eliminated all staots and possums over 11,000 hectares of kea habitat. This video shows 27 or so young kea in the Perth valley tops after the 1080. https://zip.org.nz/updates/2020/5/an-encounter-with-27-kea-in-the-perth-river-valley-april-2020?fbclid=IwAR0ymwkiStPRHWuv2WxMkpqdbXAR7NjXb3eHuBJ7G4eVcXAdqfhA89fAaY8
Frank Henry said:
Oh come on Adam! Propaganda you call Dr Pollard’s article?
You should show more respect.
Dr. Jo Pollard is an independent – I repeat 100% independent – scientist with no vested interest in contrast to a DOC “scientist” who has to toe the line with departmental policy or a scientist (e.g. Landcare) commissioned by DOC to do research e.g. ‘paid” science.
It’s like Monsanto getting a scientist to says Roundup is the best thing since sliced bread.
Any scientist who steps out of line gets clobbered by the bureaucracy. I see Tony Orman has referred to the Dr Mike Meads saga. There were others who suffered similar fates such as Dr Peter Notman, and further back on wild deer, Thane Riney and Dr Graeme Caughley who fed up with the departmental dogma, left NZ to do research overseas.
I feel sorry for scientists who have to live in the corrupted science field.
The system is often crooked.
Graham john Elwell said:
OK , I may of got hold of the wrong end of the stick with Dr Jo Pollard . >> Only I recon what this Lady actually means, put another way? >>> is that we must STOP killing our Predators with BALL POINT PENS & LAPTOPS & use some BOOT LEATHER ?
Jack Tuhawaiki said:
Sorry Adam, you’re in error. In many years tramping in a tributary valley of Marlborough’s Waihopai valley, falcons used to dive bomb my labradors. I often had 3 or 4 such instances in a morning. After 1080 the falcons were gone. It took several years before I saw one. Try googling “1080 Whiting O’Keefe'” for two independent scientists analysis of DOC’s 1080 “science”. Have you heard of paid, commissioned science?
Graham john Elwell said:
After a Lifetime working in Pest Destruction I will try & help with the Situation with our Native Birds ? Our only hope now is to implement a modern method of Control with an Incentive Scheme ! THIS NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH FAILED 1950s BOUNTY FARM SCAMS ! /////// With the Incentive Scheme the pay goes UP when STOAT numbers DROP ? to keep the Trappers KEEN !! /////// Case in point right now on Waiheke Island, too their credit they now have Stoat numbers right down ! wouldn’t it be great if they could put $ 5 Grand on the LAST Stoat on the Island ? ////// How would we Fund an Incentive Scheme ? with Public Donation or with Kiwis just mailing in a Gold Coin ! ////// We all must remember the Introduced Stoat is a formidable Predator , related to Otters they can Swim & tolerate very cold cold conditions & can clime very well ! & use a number of tricks to catch & kill our Native Birds ? they do a little dance act by jumping up & down just to fool the Birds long enough to snatch them . /////// They also use Hypnosis to stare the Birds out !! and Camo in Winter ( Ermine ) ,although I’ve never seen a complete white Stoat in NZ ? just with white patches . ////// 1080 these days is very overused like ALL Ag & Hort Chemical , that’s why our water quality is out the Window, also with heavy handed bombing of the Bush Canopy, a lot of toxic pellets must end up in the Birds Nests ? left high & dry & taking much longer to break down ! ///////
Only problem with such a scheme is like what happened in India with the bounty on snakes. Peopel keep and breed them to then weigh in. A good sustained mid level price would be more paying than a high level extinction price.
Graham john Elwell said:
A modern incentive Scheme is ‘ NOT ‘ a true Bounty System ! Re Overseas ? ( forget about the scam artists in India ) It was used with great success on the “COYPU” ( Nutra ) a huge S. American Rodent sort of Water Rat , that was introduced into the U.K. & played havoc with water fowl & blocking streams Etc. the Incentive System was WELL MANAGED & avoided the clever Dicks! As far as we go in N.Z. we must start thinking outside the square ? with how we control Predators ASAP , as we will loose many more Native Species by 2050 , that date is too much too far away ! Our Native Birds are a” KEY ” with climate change as they BOTH Pollinate & Spread Native Forest Seed & how did that huge Rate get grow down that steep Gully ? sure as hell no ever Human planted it ! anyway Stoats Etc. are stopping this natural process by wiping out our Birds .
Graham john Elwell said:
SORRY SHOULD BE >>> RATA down the steep gully .
Lew Hore said:
Adam can’t believe you have got it so wrong, kea love 1080 poison laced pollard baits.
Ben Hope said:
It’s not Adam’ fault. DOC got it so wrong.
Look at their possum population of 70 million they bandied around for decades. It was ludicrous, arrived at by some wacky scheme of counting dead possums on highways.
DOC still claims possums as a predator. Possums are herbivores.
Native to Australia, possums haven’t impact on bird life there..
Lew Hore said:
Adam in the early days of 1080 poisoning a local Reserve was to be poisoned for possums, it was also to be monitored at the request of the DoC for the effects of the poison on tomtits for three years, to cut a long story short the study carried out by a Dr Billy Hamilton found no dead birds before or after the drop yet three days after the drop a group of us found 20 dead tomtits the study species along with 3 brown creeper a grey warbler and other exotics such as blackbirds fantail swallow the total tally of dead birds found was 24 plus 4 eels all birds were grid referenced and all natives were offered to the DoC for autopsy by the declined three of the eels were carried out and given to local Iwi to be autopsied but that didn’t happen either. As I recall the DoC bloke I spoke to when offering the birds made the excuse they only had funding for one autopsy. The grid referenced map of where the birds were found was shown to a head Landcare scientist who estimated a kill of 10,000, this in a 4,000 hectare reserve, when he saw my questioning look he said “what’s the problem were there any extinctions. Adam ist it any wonder I’ve protested like many others against the use of this deadly toxin.
Lew Hore said:
The above comment should read 10 dead tomtits
Tony Orman said:
“Cunning5tunt” is quite right. 1080 does kill predators as well as birds. 1080 is an indiscriminate poison, killing anything that comes in contact/ingests the poison. 1080 can be classified as an ecosystem poison.
It even kills insects. Indeed it was originally developed in 1920s as an insecticide.
Highly regarded entomologist the late Dr Mike Meads examined effects of 1080 in Taranaki. He concluded the poison probably did long term harm to the forest floor ecology. His research findings were ‘buried’ in the bureaucracy. Mike Meads was villified. Simply because the truth didn’t suit pro-poison policy.
Yes Tony it’s what is known as bioaccumulation. A predator may kill and eat several poisoned prey. The dose in those prey animals may not have been great enough to kill that animal but the predator that consumes several animals is then regarded as toxinated and dies as a result of bioaccumulation of those poisons.
But statistics, that are easily manipulated, say otherwise, just ask Adam.
Charlie Baycroft said:
The harm that toxic chemicals do to the microorganisms and invertebrate insects is seriously unappreciated.
These tiny organisms that we cannot see are second only to the plants as the major global biomass and are essential for the health of all ecosystems.
The evidence that 1080 and other toxic chemicals we pollute our ecosystems with harm and kill these essential aerobic organisms is quite conclusive but generally ignored.
There is a lot of concern for the survival of vertebrate species and it is estimated that only 3% of the total vertebrate biomass exists in a natural and “wild” state with the other 97% being humans, their livestock and their pets.
Our activities that destroy and alter natural habitats to satisfy our insatiable desire for more and more natural resources to concert into products that we consume and then dispose of is the major cause of the loss in biodiversity.
The 3% of natural wild invertebrates on the planet are not a significant problem as we are told.
If we really cared about biodiversity and the potential extinction of certain species we should blame ourselves and stop exploiting and destroying their natural habitats so that we can keep consuming more and more “stuff” we do not need.
Producing, polluting and poisoning the ecosystem with toxic chemical poisons for economic gain is doing much more damage than all the “pests” that we are trying to eradicate can possibly ever do.
However, it makes us feel superior and “noble” to blame and destroy the few remaining wild species for the consequences of our addiction to excessive exploitation and consumption of the planet’s natural resources.
Blaming ecological problems on the possums, rats and mice and polluting the remaining natural environments with more and more poisons to kill them might seem “virtuous” to some people but it is really just a way of avoiding and denying the destructive activities we engage in to satisfy our insatiable desire for more and more products to consume and waste.
If we keep polluting our ecosystems as we are an destroying the balance of life within them as do, we will create more problems than we solve.
It would make more sense for people to learn to be happy and content without continually buying and disposing of stuff they do not need and cannot really afford.
Bud jones JonesQSM said:
None of this will matter soon as Saint Cindy has ordered DOC TO PREPARE all the paper work to hand over the entire conservation estat e, flora & fauna to tribal iwi ownership.All part of herplanned moedi nation state ofNewzeababwestan
Options Working Group is charged with task of hand over, the public will forever pay iwi to access land.Kea will be extinct sadly suffering “under “maouri knowledge”, Hokus Pokus.
Bud Jones is quite right. Look at the shambles in the Urewera National Park which was handed to a tribe. Now the infrastructure at Waikaremoana is reportedly in a real mess. It’s straying off the 1080 subject but is important in its own right. I wonder if Waikanae Watch might investigate?
By the way, a bouquet to Waikanae Watch for a grand job, untainted by the bribes from Queen Jacinda. The major media (TV, papers) should be ashamed selling their souls to a dictatorial government.
Charlie Baycroft said:
What is the real agenda?
My guess is that it is all about enabling the commonly owned natural resources of our country to be made available for economic exploitation.
In order for this to occur, “title” has to be established and granted so that it can be transferred to the global corporations later on.
If the people in this government would propose privatizing and selling the publicly owned assets as they did with the state owned enterprises there would be great resistance.
The concept of “ownership” by “indigenous” people seems much more acceptable, “virtuous” and difficult to oppose.
Entitling a specific racial group of people to ownership of these assets will enable them to be transferred, on-sold or leased and commercially exploited in the future.
What is forgotten, denied and ignored is that prior to the Treaty of Waitangi and the ceding of sovereignty to the British Crown in 1840 there was no legal title or ownership of anything in this country because the concept of “title” did not exist.
A major consequence of the treaty was that all sales of land had to be initially to the crown so that title could be established, registered and subsequently transferred to other entities.
Prior to that much of NZ was uninhabited and not occupied by anyone.
The territories occupied by tribal groups were not owned either.
They were just occupied and utilized by those who could prevent others from invading and taking them.
Our global economic model is dependent upon the continual exploitation of natural resources to convert them into products that can be sold and consumed.
It is therefore economically necessary for global corporations to gain access to the publicly owned natural resources so that they can continue to grow and prosper.
I see another cunning plan to privatize the ownership of our communally owned assets and resources.
Seems to me that the good and trusting people of NZ are being sucked in yet again.
“My guess is that it is all about enabling the commonly owned natural resources of our country to be made available for economic exploitation.
In order for this to occur, “title” has to be established and granted so that it can be transferred to the global corporations later on.”
I’ve ben saying that is exactly what the three waters plan is since i heard about it. Nestle and Coca Cola have voiced wanting to privatise water for several decades now and all they need is a country economically crippled by debt to seize that resource.
Charlie Baycroft said:
Well that’s 2 of us that can see what is happening.
Water is a very precious resource that should not be “owned” by anyone but available to everyone because our lives depend on it.
It never stays in one place because it is always “recycling” itself naturally.
No-one created or made water or the other natural resources of this planet so they should not belong to anyone.
The state owned enterprises that previous generations built and paid for belonged to the people of NZ but have been privatized and sold off.
Now it is happening to the natural resources.
Title to the foreshore and seabed resources is being created so it can be passed on.
Title to the water fresh water resources is also being transferred from the people to commercial enterprises.
The same thing is planned for the property that DOC is supposed to manage for the benefit of the citizens of NZ.
As I recall, part of the Great Reset proposal is that no-0ne will need to own anything.
What it really means is that an elite minority will acquire the ownership of almost everything including the precious resources that have “belonged” to the common people.
The basis of our economic model is the exploitation of natural resources to produce products to sell for profit. Keeping the model working requires the global corporations to have access to more and more cheap natural resources to exploit.
The people in our government have a very short term perspective. They are mainly only interested in getting re-elected and having more of other people’s money to spend while they are in power over the rest of the people.
If we do not oppose what is currently being done there will be very little left for future generations.
Karen Burrell said:
Lead is a small issue compared to the 1080 that Doc keep spreading around the country! Stop the 1080 and that will go an enormous way to ensuring Kea’s survival!
Charlie Baycroft said:
If you look for something you are likely to find it and if you do not look you will not find it.
Ingested 1080 can be identified in urine and blood sample but only for a short period of time after exposure.
There is however evidence that metabolites and residues of this poison can persist and be identified in tissue samples for prolonged periods.
Landcare Research can test samples for 10 and residues and does test urine samples from handlers of 1080. Higher than acceptable levels have been reported in many workers so tested.
Testing of tissue samples is apparently not available through Landcare Research.
If toxic substances are known to be present in specific environments, it would be sensible to look for evidence of their presence in exposed flora and fauna as has been done (in a limited way) with lead and some other potential toxins.
As far as I can find, no serious efforts have ever been made to test tissue samples from the various species (including humans) exposed to 1080 in areas where these operations have been done.
Tested Urine or blood samples are likely to be negative because of the transient and short duration of time that 1080 can be detected in them but testing tissue samples (if allowed) could be much more informative.
Why then is tissue testing not being done?
It is available.
Surely it has been considered.
It might provide evidence that various species are being contaminated and harmed.
Perhaps not looking for 1080 residues in tissue samples is a way of avoiding evidence that is not desired?
Yes Charlie 1080 residues n a small bird such as tomtits fantails ect will disappear in 24 hours that according to the DoC so need to be frozen within 24 hrs to enable accurate results.