A single fox was believed to be responsible for the deaths of twenty-six Little Penguins in just two weeks near Manly on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Australian Feral Management were asked to help on this site due to our experience in fox trapping and the NPWS not having the training and experience with leg hold traps in the Sydney Region. There was also limited time to trap the fox, as they needed a quick fix on a situation that was attracting large amounts of media attention.
What Australian Feral Management did to trap the foxes
1. Australian Feral Management discovered that the fox was killing over a very large area. However, after our site survey and looking at the location of each killing, we decided to target a key area instead of the whole site.
2. 7 Traps were installed and baited on the AIPM Perimeter near areas where deceased penguins have been found. Traps were be checked each morning by NPWS staff. When setting up the traps it was noted that there is a large population of rabbits, bandicoots and rats in this area.
3. The trap types used at the North Head site were soft leg hold traps approved by the RSPCA, the traps are checked a minimum of twice a day.
Unfortunately, no fox caught. Heavy rains and rodent activity have made trapping this area challenging due to bait being stolen and the scented attractants reduced in effectiveness by heavy rain. If Little Penguin predation continues, a trapping program implemented carefully in the beach and foreshore areas could be effective.
Australian Feral Management Director Steve Cope commented “It’s a shame we didn’t trap the problem fox I feel this is due to the heavy rain short programme time and the fox being trap shy due to all the methods being tested prior by others”.
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