Nomination Form for listing a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (epbc act)

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Nomination Form for listing a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
Threatening Process Details
Name of the threatening process:
1080 poison baiting used for the control of vertebrate ‘pest’ animals.
A description of the threatening process that distinguishes it from any other threatening process, by reference to:

  1. its biological and non-biological components.

  2. the processes by which those components interact (if known).

What is 1080 used for?

1080 poison (sodium monofluoroacetate) is used extensively in Australia to control vertebrate pests, for both agriculture and conservation purposes. Species considered as vertebrate pests in Australia are introduced species the pig, cat, fox, rabbit, goat and wild dog and the native dingo. In Tasmania, native species, the pademelon and Bennett’s wallaby are also considered pests. Table 1 lists the different species targeted with 1080 poison in Australia’s states and territories.

Table 1: The use of 1080 for vertebrate pest control in Australian States and Territories.

Source: 1080 Working Group of the Vertebrate Pests Committee (2001).

State or Territory

Target animals

New South Wales

Foxes, pigs, dogs, dingoes, rabbits


Dogs, dingoes, foxes, rabbits, pigs

South Australia

Dogs, dingoes, rabbits, foxes

Australian Capital Territory

Dogs, dingoes, rabbits


Foxes, dogs, dingoes, pigs, rats, rabbits

Northern Territory

Dogs, dingoes, foxes


Bennet’s and rufous wallabies, rabbits, brushtail possums, cats, foxes

Western Australia

Dogs, dingoes, foxes, rabbits (also used experimentally for pigs, cats, goats, agile wallabies, and sulphur crested cockatoos)

Deployment methods

1080 poison is presented in a variety of baits. Baits for herbivores, granivores and omnivores are usually grain, carrots or pellets prepared from pollard and bran. The amount of 1080 in these baits varies and is usually 0.5mg per bait in pellets and 0.33mg per bait in carrots (Denny 2001). Baits for carnivores and omnivores are fresh or dried meat. Baits for wild dogs and dingoes generally contain 6mg of 1080 (but in Victoria baits contain 4.5mg and in Queensland baits contain up to 10mg), baits for foxes contain 3mg and baits for feral pigs require a heavy 1080 dose of 75mg.
Deployment methods include aerial baiting, trail baiting and mound baiting. Aerial baiting involves the dropping of baits along transects, usually from a helicopter. Trail baiting is similar to aerial baiting in that baits are distributed from a moving vehicle. Mound baiting involves the burying of baits up to 15cm at bait stations. Aerial baiting is not permitted in South Australia, the ACT and Victoria (however aerial baiting trials are currently being carried out in Victoria, with the aim of long-term introduction of aerial baiting). Aerial baiting is used extensively in NSW, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania. All types of deployment are considered by the nominator as a key threat to native wildlife. Table 2 provides a summary of some of the applications and uses of 1080 in various states and territories.

Table 2: Application and use of 1080

(Source: APVMA 2005a)

Target species

Application and use


Queensland: Carrots are used as bait. Baits are placed in furrows at a maximum of 10kg/km. Aerial deployment has been used in southwest Queensland.

South Australia: Oats are the preferred bait and are mixed to contain 375mg/kg of 1080.

Victoria: Pellet, carrot and oats are used as bait. Baits are laid in trails or aerially deployed at a rate of 15kg/ha (for carrot baits). Rabbait® is a commercial bait used in Victoria.

Western Australia: Oats are the preferred bait and are mixed to contain 560 or 1120 mg/kg of 1080. The WA Forest Products Commission deploys oat baits in pine and eucalypt plantations. Baits are placed in furrows or ribbons at a rate of 6kg/km; or scattered at 10kg/km.

NSW: Carrots, oats and pellets are used for bait. Bait is offered either as a concentrated trail or broadcast in a swath on the ground or from the air (Sharp and Saunders 2004).

Wallabies and Possums

Tasmania: Carrots are used as bait material and are mixed so that 42,458 baits contain 140mg/kg of 1080. Trail baiting is carried out by hand at 10-20kg bait/km. Optimum bait size is a 1cm cube.


Eastern States: Large-scale fox baiting operations occur only in western NSW (aerially deployed) and eastern Victoria (ground baiting). Baits must be buried at 8-10cm in Victoria.

Western Australia: Meat baits containing 3mg of 1080 are used widely in agricultural landscapes and over conservation areas. Large areas are aerially baited four times a year under the Western Shield program for fox control.

Wild dogs

Queensland: Meat baits contain 6-10mg of 1080. Baits are laid along transects at 200-500m spacing. Many grazers bait twice a year to target adults during peak breeding activity (April/May) and to target pups and juveniles (August/September).

Victoria: Meat baits contain 4.5mg of 1080 and must be buried at least 8cm depth. Aerial baiting trials are currently being carried out in north-east Victoria. 1080 Predator Baits (49354) are used.

NSW: Meat baits contain 6mg of 1080. Aerial baiting is carried out extensively. Rate of application is usually around 30 baits per km.

Northern Territory: Meat baits contain 6mg of 1080 and laid by hand close to watering pints or along fence lines. Aerial baiting is permitted but rarely used. Baiting mainly restricted to large pastoral properties and conservation areas.

Western Australia: Meat baits contain 6mg of 1080. Ground baiting is used in accessible areas, while aerial applications are used along watering points, vehicle tracks, watercourses and gorges. Application rates are not specified. Baiting is carried out Spring or later when water is less available.


There is no specific bait material used for pigs. Baits are dosed at 75mg of 1080.

Western Australia: Feral pig control in WA is expected to remain heavily reliant on 1080.

NSW: NPWS prefers the use of grain as bait material. Aerial baiting has been conducted in parts of the Blue Mountains.

Victoria: Baiting for pigs is very limited and occurs only on public land. A 1080 bait (49352) is registered for feral pig baiting in Victoria.

Queensland: Bait material includes grain and meat. Baiting is mainly carried out on an individual property basis, although coordinated programs are occasionally carried out such as at Cunnamulla. Baits are laid along transects or at bait stations. Aerial baiting is carried out on Cape York Peninsula.

What is 1080?

1080 (Sodium monofluoroacetate) is a sodium salt of fluoroacetate or fluoroacetic acid. Fluoroacetic acid is one of the most toxic substances known to man (Statham 1996).
Fluoroacetate has been identified in 41 Australian plant species from two genera of Leguminosae – Gastrolobium and Acacia (Twigg 1994 in Statham 1996). Thirty-nine Gastrolobium are confined to the south-west corner of Western Australia. Native species in these areas have developed varying degrees of tolerance. The other two Australian species containing fluoroacetate are Gastrolobium grandiflorum and Acacia georginae. These species occur only in isolated patches in Northern Australia and are less toxic (Statham 1996). No fluoroacetate-bearing plants are known to occur in any other parts of Australia.
Fluoroacetate is highly soluble in water, chemically stable, odourless and tasteless, and biodegradable. It is relatively slow acting but extremely toxic to a wide range of vertebrate species (Statham 1996). After ingestion the initial signs of poisoning do not appear for at least 20 minutes and up to several hours. The length of this period varies between species. Death will usually occur within 24 to 48 hours but can often take less or more time than this. McIlroy (1984) states that for birds the onset of symptoms can take as long as 60 hours and death may not occur for 11 days.
Processes by which 1080 affects native species

The key determinant of sensitivity of native animals to 1080 is the extent to which these species have developed a heritable resistance to 1080 over time, through the ingestion of fluoroacetate present in native vegetation (Anon, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). This tolerance is most pronounced in species indigenous to Western Australia (Anon, Department of Agriculture, WA). For instance the lethal dose for possums from WA is 100 mg/kg while the lethal dose for possums from areas without fluoroacetate bearing plants is 1 mg/kg (Anon, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia).

The median lethal dose (LD50) is the most common measurement of the sensitivity of an organism to a toxin, although these are not always available for rare or endangered species. Furthermore, LD50 estimates require studies on captive animals and may not always reflect the absolute sensitivity of the same species in the wild. Studies have revealed different sensitivities between phylogenies. Carnivores are highly sensitive to 1080; herbivores and birds are less sensitive; while reptiles and amphibians are relatively insensitive. Other factors affecting sensitivity include level of exposure to 1080, the age of individuals, their breeding condition, body size, metabolic rate and inherited tolerance (Anon, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia).
1080 baiting programs can affect animals by both primary poisoning and secondary poisoning. Primary poisoning occurs when an animal directly consumes bait and secondary poisoning occurs when an animal consumes tissues or vomitus from an affected animal (Anon, Department of Agriculture, WA).
1080 policy in Australia

Australia’s reliance on 1080 baiting in pest control has offered no incentive to investigate and develop methods that are less harmful to non-target species. In September 2004, Tasmanian Premier, Paul Lennon, announced that the use of 1080 in State Forests would be phased out and banned by December 2005. Furthermore, in their 2004 election policy, the Coalition Government committed $4 million over two years to fast track research into alternative methods and to end the use of 1080 poison baits in Tasmania, on both public and private land, by no later than December 2005. However the phase out of 1080 in Tasmania has not occurred and in fact its use has begun to recently increase again. Regardless, Tasmania only uses 4% of 1080 poison in Australia (Premier Paul Lennon, excerpt 2004) (controversially targeting native species), and there has been no mention of phasing out 1080 use in any other states or territories. On the contrary, in NSW aerial baiting is being used more extensively, with similar plans in Victoria.

The 1080 ban in Tasmanian state forests would be a positive step, however it does not address the large percentage of baiting that is carried out on private land in Tasmania. Also, recent efforts to control the potential threat of foxes in Tasmania have meant an increase in the use of meat baits. According to the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (in Paine 2005), in the six months to December 2004, 18,000 1080 baits for foxes were laid over 300,000 to 35,000 ha. During July, August and September 2005, 8,060 1080 baits for foxes were laid. This eradication program is expected to continue (Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment 2005).
The nominator considers 1080 baiting in all states and territories as a key threat to wildlife. We note that while most native animals in Western Australia have a high tolerance to 1080 poison, native dingoes in these areas are still quite sensitive to the toxin (Martin and Twigg 2002). Thus we consider 1080 baiting in Western Australia as a key threat to the dingo only.
This nomination presents evidence to indicate that 1080 baiting used in vertebrate ‘pest’ control has a significant impact on listed and unlisted fauna, and therefore meets the criteria to be listed as a key threatening process (KTP) under the EPBC Act.

Name any species or ecological communities listed as threatened under the EPBC Act that are considered to be adversely affected by the threatening process:

  • Tiger quoll, spot-tailed quoll, spotted-tail quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculatus – south east mainland population) – listed as endangered under the EPBC Act.

  • Tiger quoll, spot-tailed quoll, spotted-tail quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculatus – Tasmanian population) – listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act.

  • Long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus tridactylus – southeast mainland population) – listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act

  • Northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) – listed as endangered under the EPBC Act

  • The spotted-tailed quoll or yarri (Dasyurus maculatus gracilis – North Queensland subspecies) – listed as endangered under the EPBC Act

  • Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax fleayi – Tasmanian population) – listed as endangered under the EPBC Act

Name any species or ecological community, other than those that are listed under the EPBC Act that could become eligible for listing in one of those categories because of the threatening process:

  • Dingo (Canis lupus dingo)

  • Eastern quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus)

  • Brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii)

  • Other species listed below

Justification for this nomination
In a consultancy report to HSI on the suitability of 1080 poisoning for listing as a KTP under the EPBC Act, Dr Martin Denny (2001) suggests that the required criteria could be met. The range of non-target native fauna affected by 1080 poisoning is considerable. This report is provided in Appendix II.
In a series of papers, the CSIRO tested the sensitivity to 1080 poison of 84 native species (McIlroy 1981a, 1981b, 1982a, 1982b, 1983a, 1983a, 1984; McIlroy et al. 1985), in order to assess the potential danger non-target species face from 1080 poisoning campaigns. McIlroy (1986) summarises and discuses these results. According to McIlroy (1986), of the 84 native species tested, 69 are likely to or known to eat baits intended for rabbits and pigs and the majority only need to eat a small percentage of their body weight as bait to ingest a lethal dose. Also, 35 out of the 84 species are likely to or known to eat meat baits intended for dogs, dingoes and pigs.
Based on overall sensitivity and susceptibility, McIlroy (1986) made two major conclusions. The first is that native macropods appear to be most at risk during rabbit or pig poisoning campaigns using pellet, grain or carrot baits. The second is that carnivorous mammals including native carnivorous marsupials are most at risk from dog, dingo and pig poisoning campaigns using meat baits.
The CSIRO studies indicate that there is the potential for a massive range of species to be impacted on by 1080 poisoning campaigns. Limited data means that the extent of impact is potentially underestimated. Here we present strong evidence to indicate that 1080 baiting is a key threat to a number of species.

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