Baiting of feral cats with sodium fluoroacetate (1080)

Eradicat® and Hisstory® baits have been specifically designed to target feral cats. At the time of writing there is no national level Standard Operating Procedure for baiting of feral cats with sodium fluoroacetate (1080). The APVMA Eradicat® label contains directions for use and the WA CoP (see below) gives additional directions for use in that jurisdiction. Restrictions apply to where you can use feral cat baits, so you need to contact the relevant jurisdiction where the baits are being deployed to get further information.

Poison baiting is the most effective form of feral cat control over larger areas. Properly implemented baiting regimes can achieve rapid knockdowns of feral cat populations across landscape scales. Baiting with 1080 is best used in a strategic manner as part of a co-ordinated program designed to achieve sustained effective control.

Baiting of feral cats with Eradicat® 1080 baits is undertaken as part of feral animal control programs in Western Australia in national parks, reserves, and private lands as well as some specific projects under research and minor use permits elsewhere. It is conducted by authorised officers including government staff, landholders, pest control officers, and professional contractors.

Two manufactured 1080 based baits have been developed for use on feral cats: Eradicat® and Hisstory®. Both baits are meat-based sausages with slightly different delivery mechanisms for the 4.5mg dose of 1080 toxin. The Eradicat® bait has the dose of 1080 toxin directly injected into the sausage bait, while Hisstory® delivers the toxin within a robust acid-soluble polymer pellet known as the hard shell delivery vehicle (HSDV).

Eradicat® baits were developed, and are produced by, the Western Australia Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), therefore, permission by the DBCA is required for any use of these baits. At the time of writing is only approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for use in Western Australia and some specific projects elsewhere. Stage 1 of a national registration of Eradicat®, i.e. for use in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, was re-submitted to the APVMA in August 2023 by the DBCA, with the assistance of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia (PIRSA) and the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) and at time of writing is under APVMA assessment.

Hisstory® development was led by the Commonwealth in partnership the Victorian and Western Australian Governments and is currently going through field efficacy trials under a research permit. At present, it is not registered for use anywhere in Australia. The Hisstory® bait offers a greater degree of protection to many wildlife species by presenting the toxicant in an HSDV which exploits the differences in feeding behaviour between feral cats and non-target species.

More than 40 species of Australian plants produce the chemical sodium fluoroacetate (the active ingredient of 1080) as a defence against grazing. Most of these plant species are confined to southwestern Western Australia, with a few in the Northern Territory and Queensland. Native animals that have evolved alongside these plants have a natural resistance to 1080 toxin. In contrast, introduced animals are highly susceptible to 1080 poisoning. The degree of resistance to 1080 toxicity varies among native animal species. However, while individual poisoning of non-target species can occur on occasion, with a well-run baiting program, this is rare enough that it does not adversely affect the overall populations of non-target wildlife species. The species selectivity which 1080 provides, along with strict baiting protocols, make it one of the most powerful tools at our disposal in combating invasive vertebrate pest species like foxes and cats. Click here for more information on 1080.

The Government of Western Australia provides a Code of Practice which covers the use of Eradicat® Baits. This Code of Practice should be read in conjunction with the overarching Model code of practice for the humane control of feral cats, to ensure that the most appropriate pest control techniques are selected and deployed in combination with other techniques, to achieve rapid and sustained reduction of pest animal populations and impacts.

DOWNLOAD the Government of Western Australia’s Code of Practice for the Safe Use and Management of Registered Pesticides containing 1080, PAPP and STRYCHNINE for vertebrate pest management in Western Australia (2018).

Consult the Western Australia Feral Cat Working Group (WAFCWG) website for information on baiting feral cats using Eradicat® baits in Western Australia.

Disclaimer
The information contained in this publication has been prepared with care and is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Some of the information in this document is provided by third parties, and all information is provided “as is”, without warranty of any kind, to the extent permitted by law. After publication, circumstances may change and before relying on this information the user needs to take care to update as necessary.

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It is important to connect with the relevant government authorities to ensure you have the right permits in place before undertaking feral cat management.

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Further information

Algar D, Hamilton N, Onus M, Hilmer S, Comer S, Tiller C, Bell L, Pinder J, Adams E, Butler S (2011) ‘Field trial to compare baiting efficacy of Eradicat® and Curiosity® baits.’ Report for the Department of Environment and Conservation, Woodvale, Western Australia. https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/invasive-species/publications/field-trial-compare-baiting-efficacy-eradicat-and-curiosity-baits

Fancourt BA, Harry G, Speed J, Gentle MN (2022) Efficacy and safety of Eradicat® feral cat baits in eastern Australia: population impacts of baiting programmes on feral cats and non-target mammals and birds. Journal of Pest Science 95, 505-522. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-021-01433-9

Tarran M (2022) ‘National Registration with The APVMA of A Poison Feral Cat Bait Containing 1080 in the Liquid Form – Stage 1: Final Report for Project P01-T-004.’ Report for the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions. https://invasives.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/T004-Final-release.pdf

Western Australia Feral Cat Working Group (2021). Baiting. https://wafcwg.org.au/information/baiting/

How to reference this page:

Basnett G, Nelson T & Hugo A (2023) Baiting of feral cats with sodium fluoroacetate (1080). Toolkit Resource. PestSmart website. https://pestsmart.org.au/toolkit-resource/baiting-of-feral-cats-with-1080 accessed 22-06-2024