Australia has some of the most unique native wildlife and biodiversity in the world.

However, across Australia, introduced species are decimating our native wildlife and ecosystems through predation, habitat destruction, competition for resources and disease.

The long list of victims includes unique marsupials – such as quolls, bilbies, koalas, wombats and wallabies – as well as ground-dwelling birds, snakes and reptiles.

Our native animals and landscape deserve our protection….Nature may have a solution!

Sodium fluoracetate is a naturally-occurring toxin found in more than 30 species of native Australian plants.

It is is safe in the environment, as it dilutes into harmless compounds in water and gets eaten by the bacteria in soil.

Many of Australia’s native wildlife have a natural tolerance to sodium fluoroacetate, unlike introduced species.

That is why sodium fluroacetate is used for invasive species control and is considered the most environmentally responsible option currently available to protect Australia’s native environment from decimation by introduced species.

What is it?

Sodium fluoroacetate, better known as 1080 (pronounced “ten eighty”), is an odorless, tasteless white powder that is diluted with water to concentrations specific for the species being targeted. The solution may have a special dye or marker added for identification of the toxin. It is used for poisoning of wild dogs and other introduced predators by incorporating it into fresh, dried or processed meat baits. In Australia, 1080 is not available to the public in its concentrated powder form.

How safe is it?

Human Health:

  • Access to 1080 is highly restricted and not available to the general public in the concentrated powder form.
  • 1080 is only available in Australia in diluted, premixed solution at concentrations applicable to the pest species being targeted.
  • Only authorised and properly trained operators are permitted to handle 1080 and prepare baits.
  • Landholders and land managers are not permitted to handle 1080 solution in most states and can only access 1080 in a prepared bait, fresh meat or manufactured meat bait.
  • The concentrations used for vertebrate pest management and particularly wild dogs are extremely low and not lethal to humans.
  • The concentrations of 1080 used for vertebrate pest management are extremely low for wild dogs. For an 90kg adult human to be poisoned, they would need to eat 9.5kg of poisoned meat in one meal (equivalent to almost 40 baits) and a 20kg child would need to consume 1.5kg of poisoned meat in a single meal.
  • The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority Review clearly demonstrated there was no case to answer in terms of the use of 1080 and, in fact, commended the responsible manner in which it is regulated and used throughout Australia.

Non-target impacts and its effect on the environment:

  • There is no threat from 1080 baiting, used to control wild dogs, foxes and feral cats, to all of the populations of native animals that have been studied, including 29 species of native birds, 7 species of native reptiles and amphibians and 44 species of native mammals (including carnivorous marsupials such as the Spotted Tail Quoll).
  • Many Australian native animals are tolerant to 1080 because over 30 Australian native plants naturally produce sodium fluoroacetate which is found in 1080 baits and the synthetically manufactured 1080 is identical to, and retains all the properties of, the natural sodium fluoroacetate poison found in these Australian native plants.
  • 1080 is highly soluble and biodegradable. This means it breaks down in water, soil and in carcasses over time (in hot, humid weather, it only takes a few days) and has limited impact on the environment.
  • 1080 baits can kill domestic and working dogs if they eat a lethal dose, therefore it is imperative they are restrained from roaming freely, and/or muzzled if and when working, and owners heed warning signs when baiting is occurring.
  • 1080 poison baiting is a best-practice, target-specific method for pest animal control because it remains the only poison to which Australian native wildlife have some tolerance and it is used in a way that minimises the opportunity for wildlife to encounter a bait or eat it.

Why do we use it?

  • To date, 1080 is the most efficient, humane and species-specific pesticide available for declared pest animal control in Australia.
  • Controlling pest animals is essential for the conservation of endangered native animals and for minimising their impact on native flora and fauna and farmed livestock.
  • All Australian states and territories endorse 1080 baiting as part of an integrated approach to pest animal management.
  • In Australia, 1080 supply and use is highly regulated. It is a restricted (S7) chemical product and can only be supplied to persons who are authorised to use the product under the laws of a state or territory.
  • Each Australian state and territory has strict regulations for the manufacturing, labelling, handling, storage, supply, use, retrieval and disposal of 1080 baits.
  • 1080 baits are formulated to be lethal for target pest species yet minimise the impact on non- target species such as native wildlife.
  • 1080 baiting programs are intensively managed. Before 1080 baiting occurs, pest animal managers need to consider lethal poison dosage, pest specific poison carrier palatability, pest specific bait size, time of year and seasonal conditions when used, where and how the bait is placed, buried or tethered, the density of baits placed and when they must be retrieved.
  • Aerial baiting for wild dogs using 1080 poisoned meat baits is undertaken at strategic times of the year, is highly targeted to areas with limited access and where pests are known to travel and is highly regulated by state agencies. Permits and authorisations are required by land managers prior to programs being undertaken.
  • Aerial 1080 baiting locations are mapped by local community planning groups which include public and private land managers and owners. Travel corridors are identified from local knowledge and often confirmed from satellite radio collaring.
  • All aerial bait lines are mapped within management plans and bait drops are tightly regulated using aircraft navigation and recording systems on both private and public land.

How does it work?

  • 1080 will kill pest animals if a lethal dose is eaten as it starves calcium and energy from cells. Disruption to the central nervous system then leads to unconsciousness.
  • 1080 must be digested before it becomes toxic and, in a dog or fox, this can between 30 and 180 minutes after the bait is eaten. The time depends on the dosage consumed, digestion rates and body and ambient temperature.
  • After the toxin takes effect, the dog is initially disorientated and then becomes unconscious and while unconscious it cannot perceive pain.
  • No research studies have either proved or disproved the distress or pain of herbivores and omnivores poisoned by 1080.

How toxic is sodium fluoroacetate (1080) to non-target wildlife?

There are non-target risks associated with almost every poison, including sodium fluoroacetate or ‘1080’.

However, it is often thought that many native wildlife species are impacted by largescale ‘1080’ baiting campaigns, as are the species the baiting is targeted towards , for example wild dogs and foxes.

Many years of research has found this is not quite the case.

Based on the best available scientific data, the below table explains how many wild dog or fox ‘1080’ baits a variety of native species (and introduced) species would need to consume to receive ill-effect.

As an example, a lace monitor (also known as a Goanna) would have to ingest more than 71 wild dog meats baits in one sitting to ingest enough sodium fluoroacetate to kill it.

One important thing to remember is that even if baits are toxic to an animal, the animal may not be interested in eating it, so it’s effectively safe. 1080 baits are tailor made for the target species. Also, and quite often, foxes and wild dogs can eat up all the baits in the first few days, long before other animals even get the chance.

Table 1: 1080 dosage rates to kill particular species

Species How many mg of 1080 would it take to kill an adult? How many 6mg wild dog baits would it take to kill an adult? How many 3mg fox baits would it take to kill an adult?
Emu 9730.00 1621.67 3243.33
Black kite 12.77 2.13 4.26
Magpie 3.77 0.63 1.26
Crow 3.83 0.64 1.28
WT Eagle 28.47 4.75 9.49
Dingo 1.65 0.28 0.55
Dog 1.75 0.29 0.58
Fox 0.91 0.15 0.30
Cat 2.45 0.41 0.82
Rabbit 1.00 0.17 0.33
Pig 60.00 10.00 20.00
Kowari 0.38 0.06 0.13
Striped faced dunnart 0.02 0.00 0.01
Sheep 21.50 3.58 7.17
Cow 250.00 41.67 83.33
Sp hop mouse 1.83 0.31 0.61
Gould monitor 31.83 5.30 10.61
Lace monitor 428.40 71.40 142.80
Sleepy lizard 96.77 16.13 32.26

Values were adapted from body weights and LD50s in APVMA (2008).

More information can be found at the following sources:

  • APVMA (2008) Review findings for sodium monofluoroacetate: The reconsideration of registrations of products containing sodium monofluoroacetate and approvals of their associated labels (Environmental Assessment, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority: Canberra), available at
  • The various studies of J.C. McIlroy and colleagues in volumes 8, 9, 13 and 15 of Australian Wildlife Research, available at
  • Saunders, G. and McLeod, L. (2007) Improving fox management strategies in Australia. Bureau of Rural Sciences. Canberra

The science behind the claim – 1080 is no threat to native wildlife populations

There have been many scientific studies which have considered the risks of 1080 poison on native wildlife populations, including 29 species of native birds, 7 species of native reptiles and amphibians and 44 species of native mammals (including carnivorous marsupials). All these studies have found that there is no threat from 1080 poison to populations of these wildlife species.

In fact, the study by Kortner in 2007 found that some quolls were eating the 1080 baits designed for wild dogs and not dying. One female quoll, which was trapped and released, had evidence of eating six wild dog baits with no impact on her health.

Based on this finding and others, in 2008, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority Final Review Report and Regulatory Decision of Sodium Fluoroacetate concluded that although individual poisoning of non-target animals can occur, this does not adversely affect the overall population of the non-target wildlife – while still highly regulated, they allowed 1080 to continue to be used as a management tool for invasive species (and predator) control.

Below are 12 key studies (in alphabetical order, since 2000) which conclude that 1080 baiting for invasive predator control has not impacted on the native wildlife populations in the region where baiting was undertaken

  • Allen B. L., Allen L. R., Engeman R. M., Leung L. K.-P. (2013) Intraguild relationships between sympatric predators exposed to lethal control: predator manipulation experiments. Frontiers in Zoology 10, 39.

This study showcases that 1080 had no impact on goanna populations

This study suggests prey populations are not negatively affected by wild dog control practices. These include ground dwelling birds, hopping mice, reptiles, frogs macropods.

These studies noted no impact on native quoll populations in the region.

This study found that bandicoots, brushtail possums and lyrebirds increased in activity against a background of diminishing fox activity, due to 1080 baiting.

This study found that long-nosed potoroos, southern brown bandicoots, common brushtail possums and ringtail possums all increased due to 1080 baiting of foxes in region.

This study noted no effects seen on native birds, goannas and kangaroos and suggests that the consumption of two NT meat baits (weighing approximately 500 g each) by a black kite (weighing on average just under 600 g) would be a physical impossibility as the birds would need to consume 82% of their body mass. Similarly, the consumption of five of these baits by a wedge-tailed eagle would be highly unlikely.

This study found that southern bush rats (Rattus fuscipes assimilis) and brown antechinus (Antechinus stuartii) were not significantly impacted by aerial baiting in Northern NSW.

This study found no impacts on populations of Australian Magpie, Brown Falcon (Falco berigora), Australian Kestrel (Falco cenchroides), Wedge-tailed Eagle, Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis), Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus), Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides), Little Raven (Corvus mellori) and Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) from aerial baiting with 1080 meat baits for feral pig control.

This study found that rock wallaby populations recovered due to 1080 baiting of foxes in WA. They were declared an endangered species prior to this baiting program being implemented.

This study noted no impact on native quoll populations in the region.

This study demonstrated that foxes can be reduced to, and maintained at, low abundances and that this has a generally positive effect on the occupancy by small native mammalian prey species – common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) and southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus).