News Articles & Items of Interest
Cats and foxes pose the greatest risk to these twelve mammals
22 November 2018
Twelve Australian mammal species at greatest risk of succumbing to cats and foxes have been identified in research released today.
Threatened Species Recovery Hub researchers including the University of Queensland’s Associate Professor Sarah Legge have revealed that potoroos, bandicoots, bettongs and native rodents are at the top of the list.
Dr Sarah Legge, from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said Australia had the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world over the past 230 years, losing one to two species a decade since the 1850s.
“Predation by feral cats and foxes has played a leading role in at least 25 mammal extinctions,” she said.
Research leader Dr Jim Radford, from La Trobe University, and a team of more than 20 scientists and conservation managers have categorised every Australian land mammal for susceptibility to predation by feral cats and red foxes.
“Knowing which species are most at risk will help us prioritise where cat and fox control is most needed,” Dr Radford said.
“It will also help conservation managers decide which species need the highest level of protection from introduced predators, which currently means being moved to islands or fenced conservation areas where they are out of reach of introduced predators.
“We found that 63 – or about one in three – surviving mammal species are highly susceptible to predation by cats and foxes.
The 12 species most susceptible to foxes and feral cats (with Australian conservation status in brackets) are:
• Gilbert's potoroo Potorous gilbertii (critically endangered)
• Central rock-rat Zyzomys pedunculatus (critically endangered)
• Eastern quoll Dasyurus viverrinus (endangered)
• Western barred bandicoot Perameles bougainville (endangered)
• Eastern barred bandicoot Perameles gunnii (endangered on mainland Australia)
• Rufous hare-wallaby or mala Lagorchestes hirsutus (endangered on mainland Australia)
• Banded hare-wallaby Lagostrophus fasciatus (vulnerable)
• Djoongari or Shark Bay mouse Pseudomys fieldi (vulnerable)
• Boodie or burrowing bettong Bettongia lesueur (vulnerable)
• Greater stick-nest rat Leporillus conditor (vulnerable)
• Tasmanian pademelon Thylogale billardierii (extinct on mainland, surviving in Tasmania)
• Eastern bettong Bettongia gaimardi (extinct on mainland, surviving in Tasmania)
The study is published in Wildlife Research (DOI: 10.1071/WR18008).
“Foxes and cats have been a primary factor in the majority of these extinctions. Our study shows that introduced predators remain a significant threat to numerous mammals, many of which are clinging to survival by a thread,” Dr Radford said.
Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Sally Box said the research would support improved conservation of our most vulnerable mammals.
“Under the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy, there are ambitious targets to tackle the impact of feral cats and we are working with partners from across the country to address this threat. This research will help us to better target our efforts for improved conservation outcomes,” she said.
Dog Fence: A predator proof exclusion fence helping graziers against wild-dogs
Control methods such as baiting, trapping and shooting have failed to make a significant dent in wild dog numbers, but a predator proof exclusion fencing program could be giving graziers the upper-hand at last.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-24/dog-fence:-a-predator-proof-exclusion-fence/10551898
Wild dog numbers in SA pastoral areas prompt Qld fate fears
By Terry Sim, 17 March 2017
GROWING wild dog numbers were putting South Australia’s pastoral sheep industry at risk, according to Livestock SA president Geoff Power and former government trapper Brian ‘Goey’ Gill.
Traprock cluster fence a “game-changer’
By James Nason, 08 March 2017
Steel posts and wire netting are proving to be effective weapons in the fight against wild dogs in Queensland’s traprock region.
Fox and wild dog bounty resumes in Victoria
By Sheep Central, 06 March 2017
The Victorian Fox and Wild Dog Bounty re-commences today, with collections starting in the South East.
Download a wild dog control planning calendar
Tackling wild dogs from the sky
Its a widespread problem, costing farmers thousands and cruelly killing young stock regularly.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, wild dogs are costing farmers and governments up to $67 million a year. Three Rivers Helicopters owner and operator Lloyd Davidson has been battling the issue from the sky.
His company holds the right accreditations needed to aerially shoot wild dogs.
From above, Mr Davidson has seen firsthand the terrible effects wild dogs are having on farmers.
"Their calving rate would normally be towards 70-80%, but it has been brought back to about 40% for some of them," he said.
When wild dogs are "thick", he has helped cull up to 26 wild dogs within hours on a single property.
A DAF spokeswoman said the sheep industry in western Queensland was particularly hard hit.
Mr Davidson, who has been flying for about 10 years, said aerial shooting, with the combination of baiting and trapping, was making a difference in reducing the wild dog population.
"I have noticed a big difference in some parts," he said.
Mr Davidson described aerial shooting as extremely effective.
"Professional trappers and shooters do a great job. But when there is a pack of four dogs, they maybe get one or two. Then the others get gun shy," he said.
"We have a better strike rate from above."
The bird's-eye view of the land allows Mr Davidson and the shooter to see more places than on the ground.
"Farmers will tell me where they have noticed three or four, and point me in the right direction. But we end up coming back after killing 70-80," he said.
Mr Davidson said he would like to see more government funding allocated to combating the wild dog problem.
"Some of the times the farmers just have to come up with the money out of their own pocket," he said.
The term "wild dog" refers collectively to purebred dingoes, dingo hybrids and domestic dogs that have escaped or been deliberately released.
In Queensland, wild dogs create a number of economic, environmental and social problems - part