Baits to help the birdlife on Pelican Island

NATIONAL Parks and Wildlife Service rangers believe they have given visiting migrating birds the best chance at survival.

Ranger Andrew Marshall, said they had conducted an dedicated baiting program to rid Pelican Island of a pesky, rogue fox.

He said at this time of year the island can play host to up to 25 different species of migrating birds – some which can travel from as far as China and Korea.

“For decades this has been one of the most important nesting sites for migrating birds,” he said.

“The slightest disturbance of these birds can cause major problems for them.

“They don’t retain their energy too well and if they keep getting harassed they may not have enough energy to get to their destination when they leave again.”

For days rangers have been visiting the island laying food in certain areas to attract the fox.

On Monday afternoon 1080 poison was added to the sausage meat-like baits and buried a few centimetres underground.

Yesterday morning a quick search of the area found fox prints in the sand which made a distinct trail between the two toxic baits.

“This has been a good outcome,” Mr Marshall said.

“This means these birds can probably go undisturbed for weeks or even months before another fox manages to find its way onto the island,” he said.

“It’s not impossible with some of these narrower channels that they can swim across.”

Mr Marshall admitted the baiting can at times be met with criticism but said the positives far outweigh the negatives.

“The poison is metabolic – in other words it slows down the metabolism until the animal just goes to sleep,” he said.

“It’s important to protect the birds. The health of the estuary depends on the health of these birds.”  

“If they go or their numbers are drastically reduced the situation can snowball.”

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