Landowners get results from wildlife monitoring

Nature Conservation has kicked off its 'Managing Bushland for Wildlife Program' with fox baiting and wildlife monitoring on a number of high conservation value properties. The current focus of this project is to establish a tenure blind, landscape scale approach to feral animal control with the aim of bringing back native wildlife to high conservation value bushland areas in the Margaret River region.

Eight landowners in the area bounded by Cullen Road, Caves Road and Cowaramup Bay Road have been engaged in the first round of a long term fox baiting and monitoring program across 260 hectares of high quality well connected bushland adjacent to the Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park. A number of properties involved have Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction (DBCA) Conservation Covenants and are registered as Land for Wildlife (supported by DBCA in conjunction with the South West Catchments Council) properties with landowners keen to protect wildlife values in the area.

The first round of fox baiting has now been completed by a commercial contractor using 1080 injectors over a six week period. The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction is also baiting in adjacent National Park blocks to complement the feral animal control program on private property. Baiting across the area has been achieved through a 50% cost sharing arrangement with landowners and with in kind assistance from DBCA Blackwood District staff.

In parallel wildlife monitoring using 20 motion cameras has been implemented across a wider area of 860 ha to better understand populations of both feral and native wildlife. Landowners got to view the results of the pre-baiting wildlife monitoring at a get together in Cowaramup on Sunday 1 April. Monitoring revealed that there is a healthy fox and feral cat populations across the area and a wide range of native wildlife. Post baiting monitoring has recently commenced and landowners will come together in early June to further discuss the results of the program.

Nature Conservation is currently seeking funding to further assist landowners with a second round of baiting and monitoring in October 2018 and it is hoped that a increased number of landowners will be engaged in the program. In the long term, Nature Conservation aims to establish a program of coordinated support to landholders in this area to assist them to implement best practice bushland management covering a wider scope; including weed and feral animal control, dieback management, and fire management to maintain biodiversity values in this important location.

Current Managing Bushland for Wildlife work is funded by Australian Government's National Landcare Program through the South West Catchments Council (SWCC). Thanks to DBCA Species and Communities staff for assisting with approvals and licensing for the project.