Bush Connect Project Officer for the Illawarra Shoalhaven region, David Rush, and experienced feral animal control contractors, Dean and Troy Bagnell, recently met with a group of 35 landowners in Berry to discuss fox control for improved agricultural production and to reduce the impacts on native wildlife.
David covered fox biology, ecology and diet and also highlighted the importance of coordinated feral animal control with others conducting fox control in the region.
Dean and Troy covered the practicalities of fox cage and soft-jaw leg-hold trapping techniques and some of the issues related to controlling foxes on the rural-urban fringe.
The opportunity to combine fox ecology and practical trapping techniques in the one workshop by experienced land management professionals and to share their local knowledge with local landowners about integrated feral animal management was invaluable.
"There is a big effort to control foxes and rabbits in the northern Shoalhaven region by various agencies and community groups including Barren Grounds, Budderoo, Comerong Island and other protected lands for threatened species, west from Berry to Bugong by Shoalhaven Landcare members and the Foxground valley by Foxground Landcare which is mostly focused around lethal baiting and shooting," David said.
"However, not all landowners can or like to use 1080 baits and shooting may also not be a viable option in some circumstances but many landowners are keen to explore other methods and to control feral animals.
"It is crucial that neighbours work together at the same time of the year in controlling both foxes and rabbits to decrease impacts to native wildlife, especially endangered species, and farm livestock."
Local Land Services have announced the launch of their Autumn Feral Fighters control program so workshop participants were encouraged to attend training if they wanted to learn how to use lethal baits or to express interest in the release of the RHDV K5 for rabbit control in the local area.
The participants were also encouraged to buy a good quality cage trap and a motion detection camera to monitor animal activity (both native and feral) around the traps and to keep detailed records so they can work out the best plan for the control of feral animals on their properties.
Feral animal control leads to more sustainable and profitable farming and it is also the major management tool used to improve the health of native animal and bird populations due to improved breeding potential and reduced threats.
Lastly, all the participants were told about the Berry Bush Links project and the funding available for landowners in the Berry Corridor including funding for fencing materials, contract weed control, native trees and the research being undertaken by the University of Wollongong as part of the project.
The fox trapping workshop was funded by the NSW Environmental Trust Bush Connect program.
Another of these popular workshops will be held in the Robertson area in early April.
Landowners interested in the workshop or the funding available are encouraged to contact David at email@example.com or phone 0418 977 402.