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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 40(3)

Fox baiting in agricultural landscapes: preliminary findings on the importance of bait-site selection

Andrew Carter A and Gary W. Luck A B

A Institute for Land, Water and Society; Charles Sturt University, PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: galuck@csu.edu.au

Wildlife Research 40(3) 184-195 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR12169
Submitted: 27 February 2013  Accepted: 3 March 2013   Published: 28 March 2013


 
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Abstract

Context: Little is known about the importance of bait-site selection during lethal fox-baiting programmes. Improved bait placement may increase the efficacy of baiting and help reduce fox impacts on wildlife and livestock.

Aims: To determine whether bait uptake by the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) differed among five landscape elements (roadsides, fence lines, open paddocks, creek lines and remnant vegetation) and at sites with high or low habitat (ground cover) complexity.

Methods: We measured bait uptake at 300 bait stations distributed evenly among the landscape elements in agricultural landscapes in northern Victoria, Australia. Bait uptake was also compared between sites with low and high habitat complexity in districts subject to no fox control and annual fox control.

Key results: Among landscape elements, bait uptake was significantly higher in roadside vegetation and along vegetated creek lines than it was along fence lines and in open paddocks (P < 0.05 in each case). Within roadside vegetation, bait uptake was significantly (P = 0.001) lower at sites with a high habitat complexity than at sites with low complexity, particularly in areas subject to annual fox control.

Conclusions: Bait placement influences bait-uptake rates considerably and greater consideration should be placed on bait-site selection during fox-baiting programmes. Habitat complexity limited bait uptake, which may indicate a reduced capacity of foxes to find baits in complex habitats.

Implications: Our results should help improve bait-site selection in agricultural landscapes and may increase the efficacy of fox baiting to the benefit of native fauna and livestock.



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