Aerial Baiting with 1080

Subject: Aerial Baiting with 1080
From: "Syd Curtis" <>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 23:13:59 +1000
Hi Frank,

    Your very interesting account of the use of 1080 in W A included -

> It has an extremely low effect on native species because 1080 is a naturally
> occuring compund in a number of south west plants, so native animals (mammals,
> reptiles, and I believe birds) have developed tolerances 30 to 100s of times
> higher than the lethal dose for a fox.
> It was succesfully used at Shark Bay to eradicate foxes from the Peron
> Peninsula, and to reduce cat numbers.  I don't know if it was used to control
> goats.
> However, I thought that it had been banned for use in Victoria??  Native
>animals there do not have the natural immunity to 1080.  So I was surprised to
>hear that it was being considered for use in Queensland.  Unless of course 1080
>occurs naturally in the local plants.

Yes, there is a native 1080 plant at least in some of the drier parts of
Queensland. Selwyn Everist was for many years Government Botanist in
Queensland, and he wrote the definitive book on Poisonous Plants of
Australia - runs to 966 pages.  I use it as my authority:

It is the genus Gastrolobium that produces monofluoroacetic acid - 1080.
Twenty-seven species are known or suspected to be poisonous and all except
one are confined to south-west Western Australia.  G. bilobum is the
Heart-leaf Poison of Western Australia.  In Queensland we call G.
grandiflorum Heart-leaf Poison while in WA (it occurs from the Hammersley
Range throught NT to Qld) you call it Wallflower Poison.  Selwyn says "It is
highly toxic to goats."

Years ago (pre-1975) Selwyn suggested Gastrolobium to me (I was then in
National Park administration) as a way of getting rid of goats on our coral
cay  national parks:  fence in a small plot and grow this particular plant,
then when there was a good growth but before the plants could produce seed,
take down the fence.  Selwyn reckoned this was the only poison plant he knew
that goats would eat.  The goats wold clean up the Gastrolobium and the
Gastrolobium would clean up the goats.  Neat idea!  But instead we shot the
goats ... at least we did until that great conservationist Premier Joh got
to hear of it and put a total ban on shooting these fine animals on any
National Park!  Took years to get that edict reversed

It was generally held around the ridges that in researching for his book
Selwyn would try very small quantities of the plants on himself to find out
the effects - but that Gastrolobium was the one exception that he did not
try.  The latter part at least, I'm sure was right.



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