To further investigate the non-target impact of baiting using sodium monofluoroacetate (compound 1080) to control wild dogs, a population of radio-collared spotted-tailed quolls was subject to an experimental aerial baiting exercise. The trial was conducted at a site on the New England Tablelands, New South Wales, without a recent history of that practice. Sixteen quolls were trapped and radio-collared before baiting. Fresh meat baits were delivered from a helicopter at a rate of 10?40 baits km?1. In addition to 1080 (4.2 mg), each bait contained the bait marker rhodamine B (50 mg), which becomes incorporated into growing hair if an animal survives bait consumption.
Two quoll mortalities were recorded following aerial baiting. Both quolls died 3?5 weeks after baiting when baits, on average, retained little 1080. None of the carcasses contained traces of 1080, but the test result is less reliable for the quoll that was found 19 days after its death although tissue was well preserved because of the cool weather. Nevertheless, given that this animal died 34 days after bait delivery, it appears likely that none of the radio-collared quolls succumbed to baiting. In contrast, vibrissae samples collected from 19 quolls captured after the baiting showed that 68% had eaten baits and survived. Furthermore, multiple bait takes were common, with up to six baits consumed by one female.
The results demonstrate that most, if not all, quolls survived the baiting trial, including those that consumed dog baits. Hence bait consumption figures per se are not indicative of mortality rates attributable to poisoning.
|Secondary title||Wildlife Research|
|Institution||University of New England|
|Control method||1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate)|