Dead Rats on Westport Beaches

Hi everybody,

I’m sorry I didn’t post for a while. My beautiful dog passed away at the age of 14. It was my Dad’s birthday. It was my birthday. The All Blacks lost the World Cup to England. I started a new job. It’s been quite a week for me!

Sadly, the All Blacks lost the game against England in the semi-finals of the World Cup. I watched it with Dad. We were gob-smacked when England scored a try in the first three minutes of the game and trampled all over the All Blacks in the first half. We hoped that they would get tired and the All Blacks would regroup in the second half, but that did not happen. My Dad was a real gentleman and said the All Blacks played well, but the English team played better. It was sad, but maybe 9 years possessing the World Cup was enough. Now, here is the news: Dead Rats on Westport Beaches.

Dog owners have been warned to keep their pets off Westport beaches because hundreds of dead rats were found there yesterday. Dogs could be poisoned if they eat the dead rats.

The Department of Conservation said the rats may have been killed by a poison called 1080. They recently dropped this poison from a plane into the forest 140 kilometres inland. The dead rats may have been washed down the Buller River to the beach. The Department of Conservation uses 1080 to kill rats and other predators that eat the eggs of native birds. However, there are also some dead fish and birds on the beach. It is generally believed that 1080 poison can’t poison fish and birds, so there is some confusion about this.

The rats will be tested, but results could take two to three days to come through.

Signs have been posted on Westport beaches. Some locals and DOC workers have started cleaning up the beach, but the work is not yet complete.


poison: if you eat poison, you will get sick or die. Poison can be a noun, a verb or an adjective. e.g: I poisoned the rat, means I gave the rat poison. 1080 poisoned the rat, means the rat ate 1080 which was poison. The rat ate poison 1080 or The rat ate poisonous 1080: in this case poison/poisonous are adjectives. Poison can be used as a noun adjective. Poisonous is more correct, but we often use the noun adjective.

inland: away from the sea

washed up/down/away: carried by the river. One meaning of wash is to carry by water (in a natural way, not by sailing) e.g: Gulliver was washed up on the shore. We were washed down the river. The river washed them away.

predator: an animal that eats another animal

native: an ethnicity, plant or animal that has always been in a place

confusion: uncertainty, the state of not understanding

come through: when results of testing, including exams, become known, we say that they “come through”

post: to put up a sign or a poster in order to give public information. This is why we now talk about “posting” on social media.

DOC: the department of conservation

3 thoughts on “Dead Rats on Westport Beaches”

  1. Good morning editor,
    I am grateful for your articles. I use one every week for an adult English class I run (as a volunteer) at my church each week.
    I develop the vocabulary (add some), we watch the videos, and I sometimes use the video script, or parts of it, for extension.
    I also add grammar activities, and vocab sentence practice.

    I would like to know if you have heard the outcome of the testing the dead rats, birds and fish on the west coast – to report to my students please?

    It fitted in well with a card game ‘Menagerie’ (which is about saving NZ wildlife) we were playing last week and again this week.

    Please keep posting! Your work is appreciated.
    Kind regards

  2. Hi Melissa,
    Just read your message. Hope everything is good now.
    Thank you for all your posts. Always appreciate this website.

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