Hooded Plovers and foxes don’t mix

The Hooded Plover breeding season is in full swing across the Bass Coast’s beaches and many volunteers, along with staff from Phillip Island Nature Parks and Bass Coast Shire Council, are working hard to ensure their breeding success.

Every nesting attempt at Kilcunda Foreshore was preyed upon by foxes during last year’s breeding season and in response, Council will be running a fox control program.

This is intended to take the pressure off the breeding Hooded Plovers from foxes.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Jordan Crugnale, said strategically reducing fox numbers in the vicinity of Hooded Plover nests during the breeding season will lower the risk to the vulnerable listed beach nesting bird species.

“Council will be using a licenced contractor to undertake Soft Jaw Leghold Trapping for one week in the area between the Trestle Bridge and Cemetery Point, starting the second week of December,” Cr Crugnale said.

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

"We understand there may be some concerns about this program, however the risk to people, dogs and native wildlife is very low.”

Council will be following the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008, which contains sections relevant to the use of leg hold traps for foxes.

Traps will be checked early morning on a daily basis for the entire duration of the program, which will last seven days.

The risk of humans being caught in a trap is managed by the small size of the soft jaw trap. The risk to dogs is unlikely due to the positioning of the traps in remote bushland sites away from the beach and defined access tracks.

Council continues to encourage dog owners to follow the dog regulations for the Kilcunda Foreshore and 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 fully supportive of this program and the intended benefits.

For more information please contact Council’s Sustainable Environment Team on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.