Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Efficacy of Fox Control in Reducing the Mortality of Released Captive-reared Malleefowl, Leipoa ocellata

David Priddel and Robert Wheeler

Wildlife Research 24(4) 469 - 482
Published: 1997


The effectiveness of localised, high-intensity fox baiting in reducing the incidence of fox predation was examined after captive-reared malleefowl were released and their survival monitored. Malleefowl released into baited areas survived longer than those released into nearby areas that had not been baited. Survival in both baited and non-baited areas was greater than that prior to any fox control. Of those malleefowl released, 29% were still alive three months later, whereas prior to fox control almost all were killed by foxes within a month of release. Despite the improvement in survival of malleefowl, fox predation remained the primary cause of malleefowl mortality. The number of baits taken by foxes indicated a large fox population and a high level of reinfestation. A more widespread, but less intensive, regime of baiting failed to further enhance the survival of malleefowl. Malleefowl were also particularly vulnerable to predation by raptors in habitats where the mallee was interspersed with areas of open woodland, and where the understorey was sparse. Fox baiting will need to be frequent, intensive and widespread to reduce fox density to levels where predation no longer threatens the survival or recovery of malleefowl populations.


© CSIRO 1997

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