The use of fox 1080 (sodium fluroacetate) baits is an effective tool for controlling fox numbers in conservation areas. However, several native species are also highly susceptible to the poison. Previous studies have shown that Brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa Meyer), were able to consume 1080 baits laid for foxes. Studies have not demonstrated if phascogale access baits directly from fox bait stations or via a secondary source. This is important as identifying where in the process phascogale access baits can allow land managers to develop key strategies to avoid off-target poisoning. Remote cameras were used to monitor a simulated fox 1080 baiting program. Two sites with active populations of Brush-tailed phascogale were chosen for the program. Free-feed stations were installed and monitored using infra-red motion detection cameras. The European red fox was the only species found to consume baits and there were no phascogale recorded at any bait stations. This research suggests that, if replicated under similar conditions, phascogale are unlikely to access poison for foxes directly from buried baits. Further research and additional free-feed experiments are needed to determine if other variables such as time of year, length of program and different baits could alter these findings.
Terry, W., Kent, B. and Patrick, M. (2016). The use of motion sensing cameras to measure bait-take by Brush-tailed phascogale during a simulated fox control program. Plant Protection Quarterly 31(1), 15-18.