Western Shield's fox and feral cat baiting program is carried out over nearly 3.9 million hectares across the State, from Cape Arid National Park east of Esperance in the south, to the Murujuga National Park near Karratha in the north. It includes forests of the south-west, rangeland sites and numerous Wheatbelt reserves.
Parks and Wildlife drops most 1080 fox and feral cat baits from the air, as this is the most effective way to cover large areas.
It carries out aerial fox baiting four times a year, and feral cat baiting once a year, using a specially modified aircraft, which can drop baits with great precision.
Parks and Wildlife researchers are continuing to look at:
the risks to other animals
the most effective times to carry out baiting programs
how many baits are needed per hectare to be cost effective.
The department is also developing efficient ways to monitor he numbers of feral cats, to show how successful the baiting program is, and where it worked best.
Some ground baiting is also undertaken for more targeted control of foxes, and in smaller, more isolated reserves (usually once a month), because foxes from surrounding, unbaited areas can quickly return to these areas.
Facts and figures:
During each quarterly baiting program, the plane flies approximately 50,000km dropping baits, more than a 40,000km trip around the world!
Parks and Wildlife lay more than 900,000 baits each year—600,000 fox baits and 300,000 feral cat baits.
It drops 1,000 aerial baits per hour of flying.
It lays five fox baits per square kilometre (or one bait for every 20 hectares).
It drops 50 feral cat baits dropped per square kilometre (or 10 baits for every 20 hectares).
Fox baiting generally takes place every three months, but once a year for feral cats.
It takes eight weeks to aerially bait the 3.9 million hectares.
The plane is in the air around eight months each year.