Saturday, November 19, 2011

Little Penguins Saved by Target Specific Eradication Project

A campaign to save Little Penguins on Philip Island is showing signs of success.

Foxes are the primary threat to the penguins and other small, native mammals.  The team in charge of the eradication project use a variety of methods to target the foxes - baiting, spotlighting, trapping and fumigating dens during fox-breeding season.

The eradication team have been working on the nature park for 5 years, and no penguins deaths have been reported in the last 2 years.

The following excerpt is from the story ...

The program recently received the Banksia Land and Biodiversity Award for its innovative methods of eradication, recognising the program's potential to inspire other efforts to battle introduced pests.

Stuart and his colleagues undertook baiting, spotlighting, trapping and fumigating dens during fox-breeding season, but their innovation was the trialling of a new drug to reduced the pest's ability to breed.

Called cabergoline, the drug is a remedy commonly used to treat Parkinson's disease in humans. It terminates pregnancies in female foxes but doesn't kill the fox itself. Stuart says it is used in areas where traditional 1080 - lethal poison used in baiting - may harm native wildlife too.

To view a documentary on 1080 poison use in New Zealand - Click Here

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