Predicting mammalian target-specificity of the M-44 ejector in south-eastern Australia

Meat-based baits are currently used for the control of the exotic red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in south-eastern Australia. Thirty-one quadrupedal endemic mammals are considered to be potentially bait consuming (PBC) and may be exposed to bait toxicants. Mechanical toxicant ejectors may be more selective if some PBC species cannot apply enough upward force to trigger them. A simple relationship between body mass and pulling force was sought to enable estimates of ejector specificity to be made. The pulling force applied to ejector baits was measured for the red fox and six endemic mammals. The relationship between body mass and pulling force was highly significant (P < 0.001) and the resulting regression equation was used to estimate the highest pulling forces for 31 quadrupedal mammals based upon the largest body mass recorded for each species. In a sample of 640 foxes, taken by a range of methods in south-eastern Australia, the lowest adult body mass detected from January to September was 3kg and declined only when cubs were present in the population from October to December. An ejector trigger force of 26.46 N was estimated to allow foxes weighing > 3 kg to trigger the device, while eliminating exposure to 26 of the 31 PBC mammals. Appropriate toxicant selection and dose rates may ensure that four out of five susceptible mammals are less likely to be affected by unwanted exposure.

Author Marks, C.A., and Wilson, R.
Date 04/05/2005
Year 2005
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 32
Number 2
Pages 151-156
Notes Notes
Control method Metal ejectors M44
Region VIC