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Felixers were developed and patented by Ecological Horizons with assistance from several NGOs and Government grants as a novel, humane and automated tool to help control feral cats and foxes.
They use rangefinder sensors to distinguish target cats and foxes from nontarget wildlife and humans etc and spray targets with a measured dose of toxic gel. The solar-powered Felixer which can hold 20 sealed cartridges of toxic gel automatically resets after firing.
Felixers photograph all animals detected (including nontargets that are not fired upon) and can be programmed to play a variety of audio lures to attract feral cats and foxes.
Most Australian native carnivores (including western and northern quolls) are too small to activate Felixers although the larger spotted-tail quoll has yet to be thoroughly tested and may potentially activate Felixers on occasions. Adult dingoes are too tall to activate Felixers, but pups would be targeted and if they groom would be at risk from Felixers. Therefore, Felixers may need to be deactivated in whelping season where maintenance of dingo populations is important. Although pen trials with PAPP toxin indicated a low control rate for foxes by Felixers, subsequent ongoing trials using 1080 Felixer cartridges suggest a much higher (>80%) death rate of foxes.
Field trials of Felixers have been underway since 2015 and are currently underway in all Australian States and Territories, targeting threatened species including bilbies, bettongs, rock wallabies, western and northern quolls, malleefowl and rare dunnarts and rodents. Some of these trials are in photo-only mode whilst permission for loading with 1080 is received. Trials have been conducted or supported by 5 government environment bodies, 4 environmental NGOs, 2 indigenous ranger groups and 4 mining companies.
The current Felixer version 3B are available for pre-order. Additionally, gel cartridges can be ordered separately upon receipt of 1080 permits from end users. Additional costs associated with freight, training, support for approvals and ongoing support will be determined on a case by case scenario.
Thylation, 2020. Felixer feral cat grooming traps – under development. Information used with permission from https://thylation.com/felixer-faqs/. PestSmart website. https://pestsmart.org.au/toolkit-resource/felixer-feral-cat-grooming-traps-under-development accessed 26-09-2020