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Rakali drown in illegal traps

Rakali drown in illegal traps

The Department of Parks and Wildlife has discovered three native aquatic mammals, known as rakali, drowned in marron traps in the Serpentine River.

Nature conservation officer Paul Tholen said the baited “opera house” traps had been illegally placed in the river between Mundijong and Mandurah.

“These enclosed yabby or marron traps, which bear a resemblance to the profile of the Sydney Opera House, are prohibited in all natural waterways including rivers,” Mr Tholen said.

“Marron and yabbies form part of the rakali’s diet, so they are naturally lured into these underwater traps.

“However, rakali are air-breathing mammals and they can drown in traps within several minutes.

“Unfortunately, despite the threat these traps pose to rakali, as well as turtles, they are often found in southwest rivers and wetlands.

“The department urges anyone who may have set one of these traps to remove it as soon as possible and cease any further use of it.

“If the public comes across one of these traps they are advised not to interfere with it, but to report it immediately to the Department of Fisheries or to Parks and Wildlife.”

Mr Tholen said the rakali was Western Australia’s only freshwater native aquatic mammal.

“It is protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act and is a priority-listed species,” he said.

“The rakali is unique with its webbed feet, streamlined body and a white-tipped tail and is more akin to an otter than a rat.

“It feeds mainly at night on fish, marron, large aquatic invertebrates and mussels.”

To report an injured rakali, contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055. Opera house and box-style traps should be reported to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 815 507.

  

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Last modified on Tuesday, 28 June 2016 15:19