Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Curiosity bait field essays

Johnston, M., Bould, L., O’Donoghue, M., Holdsworth, M., Marmion, P., Bilney, R., Reside, A.E., Caldwell, D., Gaborov, R.  & Gentles, T. (2014). Field efficacy of the Curiosity® bait for management of a feral cat population at Roxby Downs, South Australia. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series, (253).

The management of feral cat (Felis catus) populations over large areas in Australia is currently limited by a lack of cost-effective control techniques. Existing techniques, including trapping, shooting and fencing when used to manage large areas are limited by their significant cost. The distribution of poison baits can provide a lower-cost alternative but must address the hazard that the surface-laid baits may present to non-target species. The Eradicat® bait was developed for application in areas where native wildlife have a high tolerance to the poison, sodium monofluoroacetate (1080), used in this product. This bait is generally unsuitable for use in other areas, such as eastern Australia, where native species have a lower tolerance to 1080.

The Australian Government has funded the development of an alternative poison bait for feral cat

control that is a based on Eradicat®. This bait, Curiosity®, exploits differences in feeding behaviour between feral cats and non-target species by presenting the toxicant, para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP), in an encapsulated pellet.

This trial was part of a series of field trials conducted across Australia to assess the efficacy of this bait product and will contribute to the data submitted for product registration purposes. Curiosity® baits were aerially distributed over a 430 km2 area within Roxby Downs Station, South Australia, in July 2013. Monitoring of the bait efficacy program was undertaken using several methods. The survival of eighteen cats trapped within the baited area was monitored with radio transmitting collars. Site occupancy of feral cats was assessed prior to, and following baiting, using automated cameras at 68 sites. Counts of cat activity on 14 groomed track plots were also recorded.

Ten of the collared cats (58%) were confirmed as having died following consumption of Curiosity® bait(s). The GPS data recovered from the seven cats that survived baiting indicated that they all should have encountered bait(s) during the 10 day period following bait distribution. However, only one of these cats was confirmed to have consumed a bait. One cat was discounted from collar return statistics as its survival after baiting could not be determined. There was a statistically significant 52% reduction in the occupancy estimates of feral cats after baiting, consistent with the collar return data. However, the data from track counts did not indicate any change in the cat population although this aspect of the study was compromised by wet weather and site access difficulties. It is also probable that the low number and location of plots affected the results observed in the track count component of the study.

The study also included replicated counts of birds prior to and post baiting to determine whether the Curiosity® baits led to a decrease in populations of non-target species. A 50% decrease in the counts of corvid species was observed in the post-baiting monitor period while other non-target species did not decline. It is not possible to wholly associate the apparent decline in corvids with use of the Curiosity® baits as other factors, such as migration or count error, may have contributed to this result. Rejection of the encapsulated toxicant pellet was observed on one occasion and was attributed to bait consumption by a corvid. No carcasses of wildlife species were encountered during the study that implicated Curiosity® baits as the cause of death.

Some further development is required to prevent the premature loss of structural integrity of the Curiosity® coating structure, and thus leakage of the toxicant formulation material from the delivery device. Despite this, the results from this study indicate that the Curiosity® bait reduced the feral cat population at this site.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...