Ted Baillieu commissioning wildlife murder?

The following article was published on CanDoBetter.net today (20110915) by wildlife ecologist and biologist, Hans Brunner, under the title: ‘A planned slaughter of endangered wildlife’

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The Victorian Government plans to drop 1080 poison bait from an aircraft into forests could result in the extinction of the already critically endangered Spotted-tailed Quoll.

The purpose of this antiquated and vandalistic method is to poison wild dogs.  Why is the Victorian Government using old, dangerous methods?  This is like re-introducing the use of DDT. It is now a double disaster; all Ted Baillieu has to do now is to aerial bait to kill wild dogs in order to protect the cattle he allowed to go back into the mountains! Spot-tailed quolls and other dasyurids are meat eaters as well as some species of possums, reptiles, bandicoots and birds. They would be all at a serious risk of being poisoned. Further more, most of this bait would be wasted because of the dogs not being able to find them and this is where non-target animals will rather find and eat them. Baits have therefore to be placed only in places which dogs frequently use, along forest tracks.

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More effective methods

There is a well researched and efficient method for the poisoning of wild dogs and foxes. It is a target specific bait station system which is successfully used throughout Victoria. Bait stations are placed along forest tracks where activities of dogs are observed.
A bait station consists of a mound of soil about 20 cm high and one meter in diameter. An un poisoned bait (free feed) is buried in the center of the mound about 10cm deep with some SFE lure placed on top. When the bait has been dug up and eaten, a check is made, with some experience, to assess whether a dog or fox took the bait. If satisfied that a target species took the bait it can be replaced with a poison bait. If it appears that a quoll or an other non-target animal may have taken the free feed bait, continue free feeding that station to keep the quoll and others away from a poison station (about 2 km away) or eliminate that station.

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This is the only responsible way to poison dogs and foxes. Even better, it will be of great benefit to not only the quolls by removing the competition by dogs and foxes of their natural prey species, but also for the survival of Kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots, possums, echidnas etc.

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Biologist’s experience of alternatives

I have researched and tested this system in 700 square km of forest between Gembrook and Neerim and found it most effective and efficient. I have also introduced it in NSW National Parks where it was recognized as “The dog baiting stations proposed by Hans are the best practical suggestion to date. With the implementation of the bait stations, properly maintained and serviced at the appropriate times, there would appear to be NO reason to allow the continued use of aerial baiting” and, “Poisoning using the buried bait technique is still proving extremely target specific, with dogs and foxes being the only species killed”.

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Do it the right way and wildlife return

Barbara Triggs, an eminent naturalist stated after poisoning wild dogs and foxes and using the bait station system on her property in Croajingolong National Park, East Gippsland:

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“At no time has there been any evidence that a bait has been taken by a non-target animal. In the past year the numbers of native animals seen on the property have increased startlingly. The Red-necked Wallabies, who’s group was here in low numbers, have increased markedly from five individuals to now at least fourteen. The most surprising increase has been in the population of Long-nosed Bandicoots. The Dusky Antechinus, Swamp Rats, Water Rats, Sugar Gliders and several species of ground-nesting birds and also species of owls are much more in evidence than ever before.”

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With all this evidence, this non specific and irresponsible aerial baiting must be immediately stopped.’

Hans Brunner
Wildlife biologist
Sept 2011

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