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Minimising native non-target uptake of 1080 fox baits

Allsop, Sinead (2014) Minimising native non-target uptake of 1080 fox baits. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are a significant pest species threatening the survival of endangered and vulnerable native Australian fauna. Lethal baiting with the toxin 1080 is currently the most widely implemented form of control. However, non-target uptake is a problem, even in Western Australia where most native species have a high 1080 tolerance. It reduces the number of baits available to foxes and therefore the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of 1080 fox baiting operations. To investigate bait presentation and the use of aversive tastant agents as potential techniques to reduce non-target uptake of 1080 baits, two separate studies were conducted. Study 1 examined different non-toxic meat bait presentations to find the presentation that had the lowest non-target uptake. Baits were laid on the surface, suspended, buried or wrapped in kangaroo hide. Study 2 investigated the effectiveness of potential deterrents in causing aversion both immediately and accumulatively over time. Nine different deterrents (washing-up liquid, citric acid, wasabi, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, salt, sodium saccharin, Bitrex and chilli) were tested for immediate aversion and chilli and Bitrex were tested for accumulative aversion. A cafeteria-style presentation was used, with deterrents applied to apple baits of control, low and high concentrations. For Study 1 and 2 animal activity and bait take were monitored on remote-sensing Reconyx cameras for later photo analysis. The results of Study 1 suggested no significant effect of bait presentation. However, as hypothesised the longevity and non-target uptake was lowest for buried baits. Study 2 suggested that salt, wasabi and chilli created immediate aversion in the most abundant non-target species, quokkas. However, aversion was only carried-over onto untreated apple baits in wasabi and chilli. These findings suggest that bait presentation and the use of aversive tastant agents may have potential to decrease non-target uptake and be employed in future baiting 1080 fox baiting operations.

Publication Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor: Adams, Peter, Bateman, Bill, Dundas, Shannon and Fleming, Trish
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