YP Stone Curlew sightings show fox baiting is working
Repeated sightings of Bush Stone Curlew in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park using remote cameras and volunteer monitoring is showing the extensive fox baiting program for Southern Yorke Peninsula is having a positive impact on the species
For the third consecutive year, the threatened ground-dwelling bird has been sighted in the park, having been previously absent from the area for 40 years.
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Regional Ecologist Lee Heard says it is likely an extensive fox baiting program - now covering 70,000 hectares of public and private farmland each year - has had a dramatic impact on protecting the Bush Stone Curlew and its possible return to the area.
"Bush Stone Curlew are ground dwelling birds that are mostly nocturnal, and have been heavily affected by habitat loss and fox predation," Ms Heard said.
"There has been a reduction in Bush Stone Curlew numbers across temperate Australia.
"The fact that there has been extensive and coordinated fox baiting both at Innes, and now extending across Southern Yorke Peninsula, coupled with continued sightings of the Bush Stone Curlew over the past three years, it’s a really good sign that the species is again resident in Innes, or at the very least, is a regular visitor.
"It this trend continues, they may even start breeding once again and we could see a longer term population which would be fantastic."
There is evidence a number of other threatened species including Heath goanna, also known as Rosenberg’s goanna, and malleefowl, are also benefitting from the coordinated fox baiting program.
Ms Heard says the Bush Stone Curlew sightings are important for the ecology of the region.
"With concerns about climate change into the future it’s important that both fauna and flora can maximise use of all native vegetation areas so that they can move into new locations that previously may not have been safe due to the presence of pests," she said.
Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Regional Manager Trevor Naismith is very encouraged by increased sightings of Bush Stone Curlew and other threatened species on southern Yorke Peninsula.
"It is a credit to Southern Yorke Peninsula NRNY staff, landholders and volunteers, who have been working very closely in recent years across property boundaries," he said.
"You don’t get a result like this unless you are prepared to look a lot further than your own boundary fence."