Southern Ark success

Southern Ark success

The Southern Ark project has been helping to protect and promote threatened wildlife in Far East Gippsland by controlling foxes across one million hectares of public land east of the Snowy River.

“The Southern Ark program is a collaborative project involving the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Parks Victoria, who have been working closely with the East Gippsland community since 2003,” Southern Ark operations manager, Andrew Murray, said.

“We’ve been successful in increasing numbers of native wildlife across the eastern part of the region through fox baiting and we’re about to do more with new funding.

“Starting this month and running until the end of June, we’ll be focussing on controlling foxes that live along the coastline from the mouth of Mallacoota Inlet to the New South Wales border.

“This will be the first baiting done as part of new funding jointly managed by DELWP and Parks Victoria under the State Government’s Biodiversity Response Planning initiative, which aims to reduce the threats to biodiversity in the far eastern section of the Croajingolong National Park.

“This length of coast is widely recognised as critically important to a number of species such as the eastern bristlebird and the diamond python, which are only found in this part of Victoria and known to suffer from fox predation.

“This work will also help us increase populations of other species living in Far East Gippsland, such as the southern brown bandicoot, hooded plover and pied oystercatcher.

“Over an eight-week period we’re planning to establish around 50 bait stations which will be checked and rebaited four times. During each visit the old baits will be removed, and fresh baits replaced to ensure the maximum impact on the foxes living along this pristine section of coastline.

“The bait stations will be established at 500metre intervals, just above the high tide mark, which is where coastal foxes concentrate their foraging activities, looking for tasty food items that have been washed ashore.

“The fox bait will be buried to ensure nontarget species such as gulls and ravens don’t eat them, and tuna oil will be added to lure foxes to dig up and eat the bait.

“The bait is manufactured, not fresh or cooked meat, and is unlikely to be dug up and eaten by dingoes, which have previously shown little interest in the bait.

“There will be signage along the coast advising walkers where baiting is underway.”

For more information contact Mr Murray in the Orbost DELWP office or visit the DELWP website.

PICTURED:  The Southern Ark project has been helping to protect and promote threatened wildlife in Far East Gippsland, including the southern brown bandicoot by controlling fox numbers in the region.