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

Aerial baiting for wild dogs has no observable impact on spotted-tailed quolls (Dasyurus maculatus) in a rainshadow woodland

Andrew W. Claridge A B and Douglas J. Mills A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Environment and Conservation, Parks and Wildlife Division, Reserve Conservation Unit, Southern Branch, PO Box 2115, Queanbeyan, NSW 2620, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: andrew.claridge@environment.nsw.gov.au

Wildlife Research 34(2) 116-124 https://doi.org/10.1071/WR06151
Submitted: 6 November 2006  Accepted: 14 March 2007   Published: 24 April 2007

Abstract

The short-term impact of 1080 aerial baiting for wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo, Canis lupus familiaris and hybrids of the two) on spotted-tailed quolls (Dasyurus maculatus) was investigated at a rainshadow woodland site in southern New South Wales, Australia. Sixteen quolls were trapped and fitted with radio-transmitters containing mortality sensors. Three feral cats were also opportunistically trapped and radio-collared. One week after trapping ceased, meat baits nominally containing 6 mg of 1080 poison and 50 mg of the biomarker rhodamine B were deployed aerially over a 10-km transect across the study area. Following bait deployment, collared quolls and cats were monitored daily over four weeks for evidence of mortality. During this time, one quoll and two cats died. The quoll did not die from 1080 but both cats showed clear signs of poisoning. Whisker samples were obtained from trapped quolls 5–8 weeks after baiting to determine whether they had been exposed to baits. Of the 15 remaining collared quolls, 12 were retrapped. Four of these tested positive for rhodamine B. Three individuals originally collared were not retrapped but confirmed alive at least seven weeks after bait deployment. A further six non-collared quolls were also trapped, with two of these positive for rhodamine B. Of the 19 quolls from which whisker samples were tested for rhodamine B then, 13 (68%) were negative and six (32%) were positive. Aerial baiting had no observable impact on the local radio-collared quoll population, a finding consistent with results from a similar study recently conducted in northern New South Wales.


Acknowledgements

Ross Meggs from Faunatech/Ausbat Pty Ltd designed the radio-collars. Colin de Pagter of Heli-Surveys assisted with aerial telemetry. Tim Seears of the Cooma Lands Protection Board prepared baits. Frank Gigliotti and Frank Busana of the Victorian Institute of Animal Science provided the rhodamine B. Dr Karen Viggers assisted with anaesthetising of quolls and feral cats and performed post-mortems on dead animals. Debbie Claridge, Danny Corcoran, Dr Karen Firestone, Dr Fred Ford, Ross Meggs, Pam O’Brien, Roger Roach, Monica Ruibal and Professor James Trappe assisted in fieldwork. Bob Parker and Martin Hannan-Jones from the Alan Fletcher Research Station conducted 1080 assays on the dead quoll and on meat baits. Debbie Claridge prepared Figs 1–3. Dr Tony Fleming gave strong support to our overall research program. Finally, our research was conducted under the auspices of a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Section 120 Scientific Investigation Licence (A3162) and NPWS Animal Ethics Committee Approval No. 020214/05.


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