Promising results for Prom conservation programs

Wednesday 30 June, 2021

Conservation programs to protect native animals in Wilsons Promontory National Park are continuing, with recent efforts showing promising results.

Programs targeting foxes, feral cats and Sambar deer are being implemented throughout the park, protecting native animals such as potoroos, bandicoots and ground nesting birds.

   Close up photo of a brown mouse on green moss
New Holland Mouse - a native species benefiting from these programs. 
Credit: Heath Warwick/ Museum Victoria

The fox control program takes advantage of the park’s natural geographic shape, with a permanent network of bait stations established along the narrow neck of the Yanakie Isthmus at the northern end of the park. This effectively creates a chemical barrier preventing foxes from entering the park, and protects a range of threatened wildlife which are at risk of predation.

“It’s really encouraging to see a decrease in fox activity as a result of our program,” said Brett Mitchell, Area Chief Ranger.

“Foxes pose a significant risk to the survival of threatened native species at Wilsons Prom such as the Long-nosed Potoroo, Southern Brown Bandicoot and New Holland Mouse.”

The remainder of the park is also baited to reduce resident fox numbers and park staff have taken advantage of reduced visitor numbers over the past year, undertaking targeted shooting operations for foxes and feral cats.

In addition to fox control efforts, Parks Victoria has been working closely with the Arthur Rylah Research Institute, part of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, to conduct a series of trials using a feral cat bait.

These trials aim to improve Parks Victoria’s understanding of cat impacts within the park and investigate and evaluate control options. The information gained will be invaluable for developing future control options to protect native wildlife at Wilsons Prom. 

Close up photo of a brown bandicoot on some dry grass
Southern Brown Bandicoot - another native species benefiting from these programs. 

Credit: David Paul/ Museum Victoria

Progress is being made towards eradicating the small Sambar deer population in the park, using a variety of management tools and technologies. 

Sambar deer are the largest yet most elusive deer species in Victoria, making them very difficult to manage - it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. 

Tracking and controlling them is an important action to take care of Wilsons Prom, as deer cause significant environmental damage through grazing trampling and creating wallows.

Parks Victoria ranger kneeling in a grassy field next to a white bucket, checking bait stations.
Checking bait stations in Wilsons Promontory National Park

These projects have been funded by the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity Response Planning program and are helping to ensure that Victoria’s natural environment is healthy, valued and actively cared for.

As the organisation responsible for managing 18 per cent of Victoria’s landmass, 75 per cent of Victoria’s wetlands and 70 per cent of Victoria’s coast, Parks Victoria is one of the most important contributors to biodiversity conservation in the state.

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