With the ongoing threat to native wildlife posed from foxes and cats, seven Nullaki landowners are taking part in a 1080 baiting program conducted by Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee (WICC). Starting in October 2017, the baiting program uses Canid Pest Ejectors (CPE) which are a spring loaded device that stores a liquid form of 1080 in a sealed capsule. This is fired when there is a significant tug from a carnivore such as a fox or large cat. The capsule itself is embedded in a dehydrated meat lure placed around the top.
The baits are checked and reloaded at 6 week intervals. At the first inspection in December 2017, 9 of the 22 deployed baits had been discharged, with 5 others showing no signs of animal activity. The remaining 8 had not been fired, but were missing their meat lure, owing to “nibbling” by insects and small mammals or birds. This demonstrates the protection to native animals offered by these devices when compared to conventional 1080 baits. Baits were checked again in late February, and we are awaiting those results.
Steve Edwards of WildThings Animal Control Solutions, the animal control specialist working with WICC, cautions not to assume that every fired CPE represents a dead fox or cat. But it’s safe to conclude that we are already having some impact on the feral predator population. What’s important now is for more properties on the Nullaki to begin baiting, to create a mosaic of defence, leaving no sanctuary areas or safe conduits for the predators. Signing up to the program through WICC is very easy, with the relevant information found on their website http://www.wicc.org.au/1080-eoi.html . With the sandbar now closed, both foxes and cats will be able to resume entering this habitat from the west. Let’s knock ‘em off before they get established!
To complement to the baiting program, cages are being used in an effort to capture foxes and cats. Cages are particularly aimed at keeping feral cats in check, as in other programmes cat numbers have been shown to increase as foxes were eradicated. It is hoped that this trapping program will be ongoing to maximise protection of native fauna within the feral-proof fence. The feral animal control supports the Nullaki Peninsula Fauna Survey and Feral Animal Control grant that is funded by WA State NRM.
(click any photo to enlarge)