Bait training to protect Pilbara wildlife

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThreatened species in the Pilbara will get better protection from the threat of feral animals following Department of Environment and Conservation staff training in the safe use and handling of fox baits.

DEC Pilbara feral animal control project officer Derek Sandow said staff from DEC’s Exmouth and Karratha work centres completed the training to help protect native animals from the threat of the introduced European red fox.

“There are a number of species in the Pilbara that are susceptible to predation from foxes, including the black-flanked rock wallaby and northern quoll, as well as nesting turtles such as the loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtle,” he said.

“By baiting to control this predator in a safe and effective manner, native animals have a much better chance of survival and can continue to play their vital role in maintaining species diversity in the Pilbara.”

Fox baiting is carried out using a salami style sausage containing the naturally occurring 1080 toxin, which is poisonous to introduced species, while native animals have evolved a high tolerance to it.

Mr Sandow said staff participated in a series of theoretical and practical assessments to receive their 1080 baiting departmental authorisation.

“The training allows staff to participate in on-ground operations as part of DEC’s Western Shield fauna conservation program and also the Federal Government’s Caring for our Country-funded Integrated Feral Animal Control At The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area project,” he said.

The majority of 1080 baiting by DEC occurs in Cape Range National Park, Ningaloo Marine Park and adjoining lands, Murujuga National Park and on some islands in the Dampier Archipelago.

Other areas in the region are also baited with 1080 to control foxes, cats and wild dogs.

For more information on 1080 baited areas please visit www.dec.wa.gov.au/westernshield or contact your local DEC office.

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