GRAPHIC CONTENT

Shoalhaven Fox Control Program back in action after devastating bushfires protecting native wildlife

TARGET: A fox shot while eating a carpet python at Bundanon.

TARGET: A fox shot while eating a carpet python at Bundanon.

The recent fires along the eastern seaboard have put huge stress on our native wildlife.

Locally, the Currowan and Morton fires have burnt more than 505,000 hectares including a majority of the Morton National Park, home to 41 threatened or endangered species.

The community-based Shoalhaven Fox Control Program says now is a critical time to act to protect our native wildlife.

"It is estimated that 800,000 native animals have been killed in these fires," said project manager Peter Jirgens,

"With so much of our forest destroyed, it's essential we act now to give our remaining native fauna a chance.

"Over the last two weeks volunteer shooters from the Shoalhaven Fox Control Program have visited areas adjacent to burnt out bushland to establish if foxes are present.

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"They found that fox numbers had increased and shot three foxes at Bundanon, four at Worrigee and two at Nowra Hill."

With so much of our forest destroyed, it's essential we act now to give our remaining native fauna a chance.

Shoalhaven Fox Control Program project manager Peter Jirgens

Mr Jirgens said remaining adjacent unburnt areas such as Jervis Bay and Booderoo National Park, central and eastern Kangaroo Valley and the Cambewarra Range would now function as 'arks' of nature, providing important refuge for surviving animals.

"These areas will also attract feral predators such as foxes and cats," he said.

"Foxes in particular, tend to survive fires well, as they can hide out in their dens while the fire goes over.

"They are now out in the bush looking for food and stunned or injured wildlife are easy prey.

"It's critical that we control these predators, so native animals have a chance to survive and recover and repopulate burnt out areas."

The Shoalhaven Fox Control Program was initiated in August 2018 by the Shoalhaven Landcare Association.

It is a landscape wide, community-based fox control program, utilising local volunteers working on private land.

To date, 145 foxes have been shot, 527 baits taken and 12 foxes trapped. The group now has 45 volunteers who attend about 100 stations across 45 properties.

Four cameras operate across the properties to check what animals are visiting the stations.

"Volunteers need no prior experience, as training will be provided for roles such as maintaining control stations, sensor camera monitoring and administration," Mr Jirgens said.

"We are also looking for landholders who would like to have foxes controlled on their properties"

Foxes have a devastating impact on wildlife and agriculture in the Shoalhaven. They are known to have predated upon turtles, frogs, long-nosed bandicoot, echidna, eastern pygmy possum and sugar gliders as well as lambs and calves locally. They also spread disease and weeds across the landscape.

If you are concerned about the impact foxes are having on native wildlife, livestock and domestic animals and would like to be part of this project, go to the Shoalhaven Landcare website (http://www.shoalhavenlandcare.org.au/) and follow the links to email or call Peter Jirgens on 0488 460 011.

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This story Native wildlife needs help after fires first appeared on South Coast Register.

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