Considerable effort has been put
into improving and refining the use of 1080. While there are no “silver
bullet replacements”, we are now moving to a time for new product
Collaboration between Lincoln, Otago and Auckland universities, the
Department of Conservation, regional councils, pest control
professionals and community groups – coupled with Animal Health Board
and Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) support – is
accelerating the development of new toxin research and new product
Research on biocontrol of vertebrate pests remains an important and
major focus. But there is a gap between conventional poisons and hopes
for the future that needs to be filled.
In response to issues with the use of 1080 and brodifacoum for possum
control, a momentum is developing to enable the introduction of
alternative toxins, baits and delivery systems within one-to-six years
for the control of possums, rodents, other predators such as stoats and
New tools require approval from the Environmental Risk Management
Authority (ERMA) and New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).
Consultation with Maori is a prerequisite. Welfare considerations, and
the need for demonstrating effective control of pests with minimum
non-target impacts, are key components.
The new tools pipeline includes: products that contain vertebrate
pesticides already in use in New Zealand; products that contain
vertebrate pesticides not already in use in New Zealand; and
registration in New Zealand of a new generation of vertebrate
Efforts to extend existing registrations have focused on cyanide,
because, in appropriate doses, cyanide kills possums humanely without
risk of secondary poisoning. Feratox® (cyanide pellets) is now also
under development for control of wallabies, while work continues to
produce effective formulations for ferret control. New “low residue”
poisons – zinc phosphide and a combination of coumatetrayly and
cholecalciferol – are being developed in multi-species bait formulations
to target both possums and rodents. These are being developed as
potential alternatives to 1080 and brodifacoum, respectively, and are
effective for possum, rodent and rabbit control with low secondary
poisoning risks and limited environmental persistence.
Zinc phosphide has been favoured for field use in the United States, as
well as in Australia, China and the Asia–Pacific region for field
control of rodents and some larger pests. It is quick acting in possums,
rabbits and rodents and would make a suitable back-up to 1080. The first
zinc phosphide containing product could be available next year, subject
of course to ERMA approval. Less expensive formulations of
cholecalciferol should also be well advanced by next year.
In parallel, efforts to complete the registration of completely novel
humane poisons have accelerated. For example, para aminopropiophenone (PAPP)
– has the potential to become the second vertebrate pesticide product
designed with humaneness as a primary consideration and the first new
compound to be developed for 30 years. PAPP could become an important
tool for stoat control and kiwi protection, it is humane, not
persistent, has an antidote and does not cause secondary poisoning.
Dossiers for chemistry and manufacturing, toxicology, efficacy,
ecotoxicology and non-target impacts, and welfare were filed with NZFSA
last year and ERMA this year. New initiatives in the FRST programme
“Pest Control for the 21st Century”, which started on 1 October this
year, also include screening of PAPP analogues with a similar mode of
action for rodents and possums, and identifying other active ingredients
that cause rapid death.
Looking to the future, we anticipate more and better control tools
combining “low residue” characteristics with humaneness.