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|Title:||The use of poison baits to control feral cats and red foxes in arid South Australia I. Aerial baiting trials|
|Citation:||Wildlife Research, 2011; 38(4):338-349|
|Publisher:||C S I R O Publishing|
|K. E. Moseby and B. M. Hill|
|Abstract:||Context: Feral cats and foxes pose a significant threat to native wildlife in the Australian arid zone and their broadscale control is required for the protection of threatened species. Aims: The aim of this research was to trial aerial poison baiting as a means of controlling feral cats and foxes in northern South Australia. Methods: Eradicat baits or dried meat baits containing 1080 poison were distributed by air over areas of 650 to 1800 km2 in trials from 2002 to 2006. Different baiting density, frequency, bait type and area were trialled to determine the optimum baiting strategy. Baiting success was determined through mortality of radio-collared animals and differences in the track activity of cats and foxes in baited and unbaited areas. Key results: Quarterly aerial baiting at a density of 10 baits per square km successfully controlled foxes over a 12-month period, while annual baiting led to reinvasion within four months. Despite the majority of radio-collared cats dying after baiting, a significant decline in cat activity was only recorded during one of the eight baiting events. This event coincided with extremely dry conditions and low rabbit abundance. Rabbit activity increased significantly in baited areas over the study period in comparison with control areas. Conclusions: Despite trialling different baiting density, frequency and area over a five-year period, a successful long-term baiting strategy for feral cats could not be developed using Eradicat baits or dried meat baits. Implications: Broadscale control of feral cats in the arid zone remains a significant challenge and may require a combination of control methods with flexible delivery times dependent on local conditions. However, it is doubtful that current methods, even used in combination, will enable cat numbers to be reduced to levels where successful reintroductions of many threatened wildlife species can occur.|
|Keywords:||1080; introduced; predators; rabbit; reduce; suppress|
|Rights:||Copyright CSIRO 2011|
|Appears in Collections:||Earth and Environmental Sciences publications|
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