Police are investigating after an anti-1080 group called for a war against DOC staff ahead of a planned 1080 drop in Taranaki.
It follows an anonymous letter in October which said sika deer were being released in Taranaki forests in retaliation for 1080 operations.
In a letter sent to DOC staff and Fairfax Media, claiming to be from ‘New Zealand Hunters’, the group said it would ‘bring you bastards to your knees’.
‘This will be a war like no other, you watch this happen around you. We the hunters of New Zealand have had enough of your bloody lies,’ Fairfax reported the letter saying.
The letter warned ‘these hunters have more guns than you or the police. We are going to bring you bastards to your knees. We will take down helicopters who support 1080 drops. We will take down people one by one, blood will fall. Watch this happen.’
DOC director general Lou Sanson said DOC would not speculate on who wrote the letter or why, as it was now a matter for the police to investigate.
“These threats to DOC staff are taken very seriously and will not be tolerated,” Sanson said. “I am appalled that someone would threaten our staff in this way as they are trying to go about their daily work to protect our native species and wildlife.
DOC staff should be able to do their job “without fear of being harmed or harassed”, he said.
DOC has put measures in place to protect staff and contractors, including asking staff to be more vigilant as they go about their daily work.
The level of 1080 protest has been relatively low this year and most have protested lawfully, he said.
“Apart from a few isolated cases, the feedback we get is that most New Zealanders strongly support DOC’s work to protect our native species and habitats and understand why we need to use 1080 as part of our war against predators.”