In April Project Numbat attended a get together with property owners that adjoin Dryandra Woodland, together with the Peel Harvey Catchment Group and the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) regarding the Dryandra Numbat and Woylie project lead by DPaW. The purpose of the session was for landowners to hear about the initiatives underway in Dryandra and to encourage them to help with ongoing control of foxes and feral cats.
Representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) talked about toxoplasmosis a parasitic disease that can be transmitted from feral cats to humans and other animals. Both feral and domestic cats are hosts to this disease which is spread predominately by contact with cat faeces. In humans and sheep it can cause abortions, as the immune system at this time is compromised. DAFWA also talked about the online training and licence requirements for the use of 1080 fox off baits and that they continue to work with DPaW regarding the use of Eradicat (another form of 1080) baits to target feral cats. At Dryandra this has been successful on some cats however foxes are the main consumer.
Trapping is another option and some local Shires are now offering the hire of cage traps for the humane dispatch of foxes and feral cats. Some landholders are already controlling feral cats and this broader action of pest control on private land adjoining such a significant reserve helps reduce predation on a number of native species and complements the on reserve actions undertaken by DPaW. A study conducted on feral cats fitted with tracking collars at Dryandra also featured and highlighted that most cat territories spanned both woodland and farmland meaning a variety of prey could be taken.
The Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews was present and noted that feral cats have been the biggest driver of extinction for Australian mammals and that the Australian Government has a target to cull 2 million feral cats by 2020. We all have a role to play in recovering Australia’s threatened species and local actions of removing feral cats, foxes and retaining habitat on private land can contribute to the increase of our native wildlife.
No doubt this work at Dryandra will contribute to this goal!