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

Predator-baiting experiments for the conservation of rock-wallabies in Western Australia: a 25-year review with recent advances

J. E. Kinnear A F , C. J. Krebs B , C. Pentland C , P. Orell D , C. Holme E and R. Karvinen E

A Number 9, Valley Road, Wembley Downs, WA 6019, Australia.

B Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

C School of Natural Sciences, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup, WA 6027, Australia.

D Environmental Management Branch, Department of Environment and Conservation, Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington, WA 6150, Australia.

E School of Computer & Information Science, Edith Cowan University, 2 Bradford Street, Mount Lawley, WA 6050, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: jakinn2@bigpond.com

Wildlife Research 37(1) 57-67 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR09046
Submitted: 16 April 2009  Accepted: 12 December 2009   Published: 1 March 2010

Abstract

Predation is widely believed to be the main threatening process for many native vertebrates in Australia. For 25 years, predator-baiting experiments have been used in the Western Australian Central Wheatbelt to control red fox predation on rock-wallabies and other endangered marsupial prey elsewhere. We review here the history of a series of baiting experiments designed to protect rock-wallaby colonies by controlling red foxes with 1080 poison baits. We continue to support the conclusion that red foxes can reduce or exterminate rock-wallaby populations in Western Australia. Research trials from 1990 to 2008 have uniformly shown a dramatic recovery of rock-wallaby populations once red foxes are baited. Baiting experiments are often black boxes and their success should not blind us to their weaknesses. Ideally, what we would like to measure are the functional responses of predators to prey abundance directly. As a contribution towards this goal, we describe new technology that enables one to determine which predator killed which prey, at exactly what time, with improved research and management outcomes.


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