A five-year research project on the south coast of Western Australia has revealed a drop in the level of predation on threatened species in the area, providing hope for their long-term survival.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said trapping studies since 2009, at Cape Arid National Park east of Esperance, had shown that since using Eradicat® feral cat baits, the local quenda population had significantly increased and the population of critically endangered western ground parrots had stabilised.
"The quenda and western ground parrot face several threats, including predation from cats, so to have evidence that feral cat baiting works is very encouraging," Mr Jacob said.
"This is also a good indication for other threatened species in our important conservation reserves on the south coast."
When combined with fox baiting, Eradicat® has been effective in reducing the number of feral predators on more than 300,000 hectares of land managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife in the south coast region
The project is part of the department's Western Shield program, one of the biggest native animal conservation initiatives undertaken in Australia.
There has been more recent baiting in Waychinicup National Park and at Two Peoples Bay and Mount Manypeaks nature reserves. These areas contain the last known wild populations of the western ground parrot, Gilbert's potoroo, noisy scrub bird and western bristlebird.
Remote field cameras have helped track the activity of feral cats and foxes in the baited areas.
The Minister said trials would continue throughout 2015 to improve the conservation prospects for these populations and to inform future control of feral predators in the region.
Eradicat® was recently registered for operational use and will be used for large-scale feral cat control across Western Australia's conservation estate.
The use of Eradicat® baits for cat control complements broad-scale fox control carried out by Parks and Wildlife under a reinvigorated Western Shield program
Western Shield was launched in 1996 and baiting occurs throughout the year on more than three million hectares of conservation estate
State Natural Resource Management and the Australian Government are funding partners for the project
Minister's office - 6552 5800