A full investigation will be undertaken to ensure the poison spill resulting from an equipment failure over Anchor Island does not happen again, says Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson.
A storage pod containing 700kg of brodifacoum cereal pellet baits was being transported to Indian Island in Fiordland by helicopter for a rat eradication operation yesterday when it detached in flight.
The pod was seen to land in a large freshwater lake on Anchor Island. Eight hectares of land surrounding the lake has been searched and no pellets have been found.
"I am concerned that this has happened and a full review of the safety procedures and practices is underway to ensure such an incident does not occur again," Ms Wilkinson says.
"Anchor Island is home to endangered kakapo and the immediate response of DOC staff on the ground was to ensure the birds were not at any risk.
"Two kakapo in the vicinity of the lake have been removed to another island as a precaution.
"It is highly likely all the poisoned baits landed in the lake.
"Brodificaum does break down in water and DOC will continuously monitor the lake over the coming weeks to judge what, if any, ecological impact the spill has had.
"The rat eradication operation on Indian Island has been put on hold while inquiries into the incident are carried out."