Fox control program benefits native species
06 December 2017
Posted 06 December 2017.
Controlling fox numbers is giving re-introduced native animals a chance at survival in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.
Foxes are a disaster for many native animals, particularly for re-introduced species like the Idnya (Western Quoll), Virlda (Brushtail Possum) and the (Andu) Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby. However a baiting program is proving effective in maintaining low fox numbers and enabling the populations of reintroduced animals to increase through the Bounceback Program. Other native species are also benefitting from the reduction in foxes including echindas and ground nesting birds.
To measure the effectiveness of baiting, fox numbers have been monitored annually since 2015 through remote camera surveys. Previously spotlight monitoring occurred.For a three-week period from July to August monitoring occurs across 60 sites in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, with cameras placed along likely travel routes for predators such as creek lines, vehicle tracks and other natural runways.
The cameras are also used to monitor feral cat numbers as well as the activity of rabbits and native animals including kangaroos, emus, echidnas and sand goannas.Bounceback Project Officer Trish Mooney said monitoring of fox numbers was previously done by spotlight monitoring but the cameras are less labour intensive and are able to cover longer time periods and a greater area. And fox numbers were found to be very low with just two foxes detected per thousand trap nights in the latest survey.
“Controlling fox numbers through baiting is incredibly effective,” Ms Mooney said. “The reintroductions of these native species couldn’t happen in the I-FRNP without effective control of predators, with other native animals also benefiting.”
Ms Mooney said camera monitoring also provides the Bounceback team with another monitoring tool for the expansion of the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby across the Park.National Parks staff are very involved with the monitoring program, assisting the Bounceback team with camera set up, Ms Mooney said.The camera monitoring has also been replicated in both the Vulkathana-Gammon Ranges National Park and the Gawler Ranges National Park, with camera monitoring beginning last year (2016).