The success of the Shoalhaven Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Recovery Program hinges on minimising predation of joeys, primarily by the introduced fox. Fox predation poses a serious threat to the survival of numerous other local native animal species and the benefits of fox control also extends to farmers and poultry owners.
Importance of Predator Control
Integrated, broad scale, cross-tenure fox control is the secret to the survival of the Shoalhaven Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies. Every joey we save from introduced predators is a step closer to a secure future for the iconic Kangaroo Valley’s Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies.
Extensive 1080 baiting, shooting and trapping across hundreds of properties in the Kangaroo, Budgong and Illaroo areas for over twenty years has brought this iconic species back from the edge of extinction.
What we do
The Friends work alongside Dean and Troy Bagnall who are highly regarded for their fox and wild dog shooting and leg-hold trapping skills. They have been contracted by the Friends and NPWS for over ten years and are literally on-call to target foxes and wild dogs that are observed in the vicinity of the Rock-wallaby colonies.
While an extensive network of IR cameras accomplishes much of the predator monitoring work these days, personal observations of regular fox activity in the Kangaroo Valley/ Budgong/ Illaroo area can be helpful if reported in a timely manner to the Friends. Dean and Troy use fox whistles and spotlights to regularly shoot foxes across over 50 cleared agricultural properties within our control area. Leg-hold trapping is employed to target bait-shy foxes and wild dogs close to the Rock-wallaby habitat.
The 1080 program remains the primary method of fox and wild dog control as much of the area is covered in dense vegetation and therefore not amenable to shooting. This baiting program incorporates both buried fresh and processed baits and 1080 capsules in ejector devices (see 1080 ejector basic facts for more information on this baiting method). This baiting is conducted on National Park land, vacant Crown land, Council reserves and a number of private properties. 1080 baiting signs are displayed at the entrances to each property on which fox/ wild dog baiting is conducted and specifies which baiting methods are used on each property. NPWS and LLS staff visit all bait stations regularly to monitor bait takes and refresh the baits. All dog owners need to be aware that 1080 poisoning is lethal to dogs. If you suspect your pet has consumed a 1080 bait, contact a veterinary surgeon immediately. NPWS reminds landholders that they must ensure their dogs remain on their own property or are restrained/muzzled when off your property.
What we've achieved so far
With the assistance of generous donors, the Friends have contributed $20,000+ directly to the integrated predator control program over the last five years. In just one year anywhere from 40-70 foxes have been removed from across 30 priority properties, with several wild dogs and feral cats also being taken out of the equation. Our professional contractors have to work hard to find foxes as we have significantly reduced their numbers over the last 20 years. Additional funding has been used to supplement the work undertaken by the Save our Species officers of NPWS and LLS who service 225 permanent fox/ wild dog 1080 bait stations, mostly within 5km of the two surviving Shoalhaven Rock-wallaby colonies.
In addition, the Friends have helped finance the intensive monitoring of the Kangaroo Valley Rock-wallabies and their predators through a network of IR cameras and continued educating and engagement of the local community in the importance of introduced predator control.
The NSW BTRW Recovery Team target is a minimum of 15 Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby adults per colony. It is expected that at this size, a colony will be able to survive occasional predation events resulting in the loss of individuals. The ultimate target is 30 adults per colony which is considered a base-level healthy self-sustaining size. NPWS are monitoring BTRW on a monthly basis across the three Kangaroo Valley colonies using 20 remote cameras. The results over the past 4 financial years have seen a steady increase in the number of BTRW. The River colony is the largest with the successful recruitment of 11 breeding-age individuals over the past four years. This colony has reached the minimum target of 15 adults with 12 subadults and joeys.
Vertebrate Pesticide Training
Feral Fighters has been running across the Shoalhaven since 2014 and currently has about 100 groups in the region targeting foxes and wild dogs. If you would like to get involved with your local group, or start your own group, please contact your Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer or visit LLS Pest Animal Management for more information.
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