Fox and Cat Monitoring and Control for Parks Victoria

Parks Victoria is responsible for managing the conservation of biodiversity, and protecting threatened, endangered and vulnerable species within the lands it manages. This includes the state and federally-listed Southern Brown Bandicoot Isoodon obesulus and the Mountain Pygmy-Possum Burramys parvus. One of the main threats to these marsupials is by pest animals, particularly foxes and feral cats.

Ecology and Heritage Partners have conducted extensive pest fox and cat monitoring and control for Parks Victoria over a number of years. One 10-year-long program that commenced in 2014 is currently in progress in a number of South Gippsland locations, and an intensive monitoring program was delivered in the Alpine National Park over a four month period in 2019.

South Gippsland Pest Control and Monitoring Program

The ten-year pest control and monitoring program in Wonthaggi Heathlands Nature Conservation Reserve (NCR), Adams Creek NCR and Kilcunda-Harmers Haven Coastal Reserve commenced in 2014. The aims of this Program are outlined in the Southern Brown Bandicoot Action Plan originally developed in consultation with Ecology and Heritage Partners.

The primary objective is to protect the Southern Brown Bandicoot by improving its habitat conditions through Red Fox Vulpes Vulpes and feral cat Felis cattus control. The following services are currently being provided:

  • Reduction of Red Fox population by 75% through an integrated approach of poison baiting, soft-jaw trapping and den fumigation at various intervals (until 2024)
  • Feral cat trapping trial and toxoplasmosis analysis over two years within the Reserves
  • Community engagement to establish support in the use of 1080 and baiting on adjacent private property to achieve the above aims
  • Repeated monitoring of Red Fox and Southern Brown Bandicoot populations to gauge effectiveness of the control programs in all Reserves.

Alpine National Park Monitoring Program

The pest monitoring program in the Alpine National Park was conducted across Mountain Pygmy-Possum habit. The primary objective of the program is to establish presence of Red Fox and feral cat populations, and collect data to establish preliminary density estimates in the Mount Bogong and Mount Hotham areas.

This program featured:

  • 64 monitoring sites between Mount Bogong to Mount Hotham
  • Remote locations often with difficult access
  • Tight project milestones owing to the significant seasonal restraint of heavy winter snowfall.

Key Challenges

A key challenge for both programs was public access to the reserves. Deployment of baits and traps needed to avoid non-target interactions, particularly with domestic dogs and the public. Mitigation measures included moving high-risk, exposed bait stations to discrete locations and increasing community awareness of the program.

Further Information

For further information about strategic and technical advice with regards to federally-listed threatened species, and monitoring and pest fauna control programs, please contact our natural heritage team on 1300 839 325.

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