A local fox den detection program has started up in the Bundaberg Region to help increase turtle survival rates in the area.
Funded by State and Federal Governments, the project is part of a larger Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program, with den detection dog Rocky and his owner Tom Garrett at the forefront of the activity.
The joint initiative between Queensland Parks and Wildlife, Bundaberg Regional Council, Gidarjil Development Corporation, Burnett Mary Regional Group and Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils, will give Tom and Rocky support in surveying, monitoring and controlling foxes in an area from the Kolan River to Elliott Heads and 8km inland during the month of May.
It's been a successful program for a number of years, according to Mon Repos ranger Cathy Gatley, who said there had been no fox impact on turtle nests or hatchlings for four seasons.
“The local community who have dobbed in a fox in the past are the reason we have been so successful, so we thank everyone for their help,” she said.
Cathy said successful nesting along the coastline was vital for the survival of the endangered loggerhead turtles, with about 50 per cent of the population nesting in the region.
She said fox families were a major threat to local marine turtle populations through predation on eggs and hatchlings.
“For an endangered species, the loss of eggs or hatchlings can have dire consequences,” Cathy said.
“This program results in having no fox impact on our turtles, which is definitely a good situation for them to be in.”
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Bundaberg Regional Council's parks and gardens portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the program would consist of den detection dog Rocky and trainer Tom searching for the presence of foxes and fox dens that could then be monitored or controlled.
“We had great community support in 2015 and as a result saw reduced fox activity on Mon Repos beach during the 2015-16 turtle breeding season,” Cr Honor said.
“If anyone in the 8km buffer zone has seen foxes or dens please contact Council to dob in a fox.
“Council will provide all of the sighting reports to QPWS who will contact each landowner to discuss the details of your fox sighting.
“With landowner consent, a QPWS contractor will inspect the property to locate the den and undertake agreed control measures at no cost.”
The program is made possible by grant funding from the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program, a Commonwealth and State Government initiative, and the Queensland Government Better Partnership’s Program.
If you have spotted a fox, download the below form to fill out and email to [email protected] at Bundaberg Regional Council between 1 – 18 May 2020.