Wildlife biologists are using field cameras in Barmah National Park to monitor the effectiveness of pest animal control programs.
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Project Manager Tim Barlow said the field cameras are set up at designated locations throughout Barmah National Park twice a year for a two week period.
“The field cameras basically detect anything that comes into the frame of view and take 3 images at a time,” Mr Barlow said.
“By tracking the frequency of pest animal species ‘photo-trapped’ over time, we will get data on population trends and what effects the pest animal control program is having in Barmah.”
“Foxes, cats and rabbits are the most regularly observed pest animals, although much less regularly than native Kangaroos, Swamp Wallaby and Brush-tailed Possums.”
“Predators like foxes and cats are a major threat to native fauna, particularly the smaller mammals such as Yellow-footed Dunnarts and Dusky Antechinus, and we know foxes raid nests of the endangered Broad-shelled Turtles, taking 90–100% of the eggs”. Mr Barlow said.
The cameras have so far detected seven different pest animal species and 15 native fauna species. Camera-trapping data suggests a need to increase efforts on cat control, which is an intensive task.
Parks Victoria and the Sporting Shooters Association Australia worked together on regular hunting operations which, together with a pig-trapping program, resulted in 28 pigs being killed last year.
“Feral pigs in Barmah National Park are an ongoing management issue and their control, along with that of cats and foxes, will remain a high priority to protect the ecological values of this internationally significant RAMSAR site.” Mr Barlow said.
There is also an on-going fox-baiting program throughout the Park carried out by Woka Wolla workers from Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) in collaboration with Parks Victoria Rangers.
Goulburn Broken CMA, Parks Victoria and YYNAC have been working together to control pest plant and animals throughout Barmah National Park with funding through the Australian Government.
For more information visit www.gbcma.vic.gov.au or http://parkweb.vic.gov.au