Bass Coast,

Hooded Plovers and Foxes don’t go together

The Hooded Plover breeding season has almost finished across Bass Coast’s beaches and many volunteers, and staff from Phillip Island Nature Parks and Bass Coast Shire Council, have worked hard to help improve their breeding success.

Sadly, every nesting attempt at Kilcunda foreshore was preyed upon by foxes during this year’s breeding season. To address this issue for future breeding seasons, Council is coordinating an integrated fox control program with Parks Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Parks.

The program will run from May 1 to May 8 and will involve Soft Jaw Leghold Trapping. Parks Victoria will also be running fox control activities along the George Bass Coastal Walk and in Wonthaggi Heathlands.

If successful, this program will be part of an ongoing control program with Parks Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Parks.

Bass Coast Shire Council Manager Sustainable Environment, Deirdre Griepsma, explained that by reducing fox numbers in the vicinity of Hooded Plover nests, the risk to these vulnerable beach nesting birds will be lowered.

“Fox control also has benefits for other native animals in the area, and the nearby farmland,” Mrs Griepsma said.

“All formal access tracks will have signs to notify people of the program, informing them to keep their dogs on a leash at all times.”

“We understand there may be some concerns about this program. However, please rest assured the risk to people, dogs and native wildlife is very low. “

Council will be using a licenced contractor to undertake the Soft Jaw Leghold Trapping for one week in the Kilcunda area between the Bourne Creek Trestle Bridge and Lower Powlett Rd starting the first week of May.

Council will be following the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008, which contains sections relevant to the use of leghold traps for foxes. Traps will be checked early morning on a daily basis for the entire duration of the program.

The risk to people, domestic dogs and native animals of being caught in a trap is managed by the small size of the soft jaw trap, the positioning of the traps in remote bushland sites away from the beach and defined access tracks, and dog regulations for the Kilcunda foreshore to keep dogs on a lead at all times.

The development of the soft jaw trapping program has been assisted by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, who have provided advice around permit requirements.

Council has also worked with the Friends of the Hooded Plover (Bass Coast) group, who are supportive of this program and the intended benefits.

For more information please contact Council on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.