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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Trends in Vertebrate Pesticide Use and New Developments: New Zealand Initiatives and International Implications

  • Author(s): Eason, Charles
  • Murphy, Elaine
  • Ogilvie, Shaun
  • Blackie, Helen
  • Ross, James
  • Kavermann, Mathew
  • Sam, Shona
  • Statham, Mick
  • Statham, Helen
  • Lapidge, Steven
  • Humphrys, Simon
  • Henderson, Ray
  • MacMorran, Duncan
  • Gibson, Troy
  • Gregory, Neville
  • Harrison, Joanne
  • Giles, Gregory
  • Sammut, Ivan
  • Jansen, Paul
  • Conole, Daniel
  • Rennison, David
  • Brimble, Margaret
  • et al.

In New Zealand, sodium fluoroacetate (1080) has been used for vertebrate pest control for several decades. Since the 1990s, some 1080 users have switched to brodifacoum for possum and rodent control because of its ready availability and ease of use. An awareness that field use of brodifacoum results in persistent residues provides the impetus to develop alternatives and provide new tools and greater flexibility. Looking to the future, we seek toxins which increasingly combine “low-residue” characteristics with humaneness, and more selective bait and delivery systems enabling better and more acceptable control of possums, wallabies, mustelids, rodents, feral cats, and rabbits. Experience gained in the 1990s with the introduction of cholecalciferol (Feracol®) and a cyanide pellet (Feratox®), which both kill possums without secondary poisoning, underpins the extension in 2009 of the Feratox® registration to include introduced Dama wallabies. To date, zinc phosphide has not been registered in NZ, despite its field use in Australia and the U.S. and low secondary poisoning risk compared with 1080. Research and registration dossiers are being assessed in 2009-10 for zinc phosphide containing products for possum and rodent control. Registration documents are also being prepared for a combination of cholecalciferol and coumatetralyl to provide a slow-acting alternative to brodifacoum for the field control of possums, rodents, and rabbits with low risk of bio-accumulation. Anticipated timelines for product availability are 2010 (zinc phosphide) and 2011-13 (cholecalciferol and coumatetralyl). Our intention now is to move beyond these conventional rodenticides and develop new vertebrate pesticides. For example, we are pursuing the registration of para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) for humane control of stoats and feral cats, and a series of related novel toxins and other compounds that target the red blood cell for other pest species including rodents. PAPP products should be available in 2010, subject to registration approvals. New research initiatives in 2010 will increasingly result in a shift in focus to the development of novel rodenticides aided by new international research collaborations.

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