Press Release: By Kimberley Toad Busters (KTB). 09/06/2017
DPAW set to kill off one of the Kimberley last viable untouched biodiversity thresholds with a baiting program.
The Commonwealth Department of Environment have contracted the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) to conduct their new hybrid 1080 capsule bait ‘Hisstory’ in the Kimberley on Department of Defence Land Yampi Sound Defence Training Area (YSTA). Lee Scott-Virtue, President & Founder of KTB stated “This bait program is supposedly targeted at wild cat populations but dozens of research programs undertaken on YSTA has determined a very low feral cat population. Very few studies have even reported the sighting of feral cats in their biodiversity studies (including during my own archaeological contract undertaken for the Defence Department on the YSTA several years ago)”.
YSTA also has one of the very few DNA 100% undisturbed Pure Dingo populations in Australia, which is one of the reasons for the low recorded presence of feral cats. Lee went on to say “The absence of a feral cat population has also contributed to YSTA having one of the highest recorded populations of the endangered Northern Quoll population and is home to many threatened and endangered faunal and vegetation species. It is an area that can also lay claim to having had no recorded extinctions since Europeans arrived that I am aware of”.
Essentially protected since 1978 when the area was acquired by Defence, this area is, today, made up of unique relatively undisturbed habitat systems housing a rich biodiversity no longer seen in other parts of the Kimberley. With cane toads now certain to enter YSTA in the next 12 months the only baiting program that should be taking place is the ‘Toad Sausage Taste Aversion’ program to try and get Quolls and large reptiles to avoid toads when they arrive. Dean Goodgame added “This is a program that DPAW has already been funded for so why have they (If they are working with Defence and traditional owners) not got this program in place already? And how can they possibly be part of a program that actually directly threatens native Quolls and other native animals? We, as the general public, need to be questioning DPAWS ability to manage and make decisions on our parks and other areas of the Kimberley?
Kimberley Toad Busters are concerned that the real focus of this bait program appears to be to test this bait on the very large quoll population and to see how high the mortality rate is. DPAW have long supported the 1080 baiting program on pastoral stations, but the growing concern by researchers and community about the ‘fall-out’ and impact on other native species, including the Quoll has raised an increasing number of questions about the impacts of baiting on other animals not directly targeted.
Dean Goodgame added “Dingoes are obviously of no concern in this study but will be a major victim, wiping out one of our last true full blood dingo populations. KTB would like to know if there has been consultation with the traditional owners about this? More concerning is that this appears to be a clandestine approach by DPAW. We can see no evidence of public consultation. This may be land owned by Defence but it is part of the Kimberley, and as such, has a significant natural and cultural heritage for both traditional owners and other residents of the area”.
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