12 September 2003
Finding the best ways to deliver effective and efficient
fox baiting controls while protecting and enhancing biodiversity is the
aim of an innovative research project being undertaken by Parks Victoria
in partnership with the Department of Sustainability and Environment's
Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARIER).
Established two years ago, the Fox Adaptive Experimental
Management (AEM) project aims to improve the effectiveness of fox control
on public land, both in terms of reducing the fox population and also
monitoring how native species respond to different fox baiting strategies.
The project, which operates in six Victorian parks, uses
a combination of different fox baiting strategies including timing (the
period of baiting) and intensity (the number of baits per kilometre),
to measure changes in the level of fox activity.
ARIER research scientist Dr Alan Robley said that while
the project was only in its second year, it had already produced some
positive environmental results.
"The project has established for the first time, the
presence of the Little Pygmy Possum at the Little Desert National Park,
which is an extension of the known range for the species and confirmed
the presence of the Southern Brown Bandicoot and Long-nosed Potoroo at
Coopracambra National Park, " he said.
"Although it will be another 3-5 years before
we can reach any definitive results, we are already beginning to see environmental
gains and reaching a much better understanding of the most effective fox
baiting strategies," he said.
Dr Robley said that initial results from the fox AEM project
suggested that continuous control operations over large areas were more
likely to suppress fox numbers than seasonal or short-term operations
over small areas.
Parks participating in the fox AEM project are:
- Coopracambra National Park - Codrington Coastal Park
- Grampians National Park - Hattah-Kulkyne National Park
- Little Desert National Park - Wilsons Promontory National Park
At each of these parks, a combination of annual, continuous
and pulsed timing programs and intensity of fox control using 1080 poisoned
baits is being implemented.
From the Department of Sustainability and Environment
Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI)
The Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research is part of the Victorian
Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Location: 123 Brown Street, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084
ARI conducts research and surveys to assist in biodiversity conservation
and ecologically sustainable development. It provides authoritative information
on flora, fauna and biodiversity conservation to land managers, and the