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Emergency baiting for Cape Arid western ground parrots

The Department of Parks and Wildlife has carried out emergency baiting to protect critically endangered western ground parrots from feral cats in Cape Arid National Park on the south coast.

Aircraft baited more than 145,000 hectares of the park with Eradicat® earlier this month, in response to severe bushfires in October and November.

Parks and Wildlife regional ecologist Sarah Comer, who leads the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team, said the emergency action was required due to the significant vegetation damage caused by the fires and because feral cats are known to target areas burnt by bushfires to hunt native animals.

“Unfortunately about 90 per cent of western ground parrot habitat in Cape Arid National Park was burnt by those two fires and only two small pockets of occupied habitat remain,” Ms Comer said.

“Automated recording units designed to pick up the birds’ calls have been deployed in these two areas, and in potential habitat east of the burnt ground which may now be occupied.”

Ms Comer said on-ground baiting and trapping for feral cats was carried out in Cape Arid following the October fires, removing seven feral cats from key areas of ground parrot habitat.

An assessment of the impact of the fires on the number of birds remaining is being planned for early 2016.

“Previously we estimated there were around 140 individuals left in the wild and we’re keen to monitor the population so we can determine if they have been able to persist in habitat in the area,” Ms Comer said.

 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 16 December 2015 10:29