Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Adrianne Kinnear

Second Advisor

Dr Katinka Ruthrof

Abstract

European rabbits in Australia have a significant impact on the environment and the economy. It is therefore necessary to implement control programs. In rural areas a number of methods including warren ripping and poisoning are frequently used. In urban areas though, rabbit control is not as easily accomplished because the use of many control methods is not appropriate. For example, the poison 1080 often cannot be used due to public health concerns and warren ripping cannot be used in conservation areas. Poisoning with pindone, an anticoagulant, is therefore one of few options available to the managers of urban reserves. However, the use of pindone is not without risks to wildlife and domestic animals. This study was conducted in Bold Park, Perth, Western Australia, as tt was recognised that rabbits have a tremendous impact on the bushland. The study investigated the use of bait stations during a bailing program and was designed to: assess the bait uptake from two different bait station designs; identify animals visiting the bait stations; and determine whether these animals showed a preference for one of the bait station designs. Prior to the field trials, oat seed viability studies were carried out to ensure that the oat seeds used as bait would not germinate in the field. To identify animals visiting the bait stations (through tracks and scats), bait stations were placed onto existing sand plots. The study showed that rabbits accepted bait stations and fed from both bait station types. Although they preferred the slab design the difference in visitation was not significant. Bird visitation to the drum design was significantly lower than to the slab design and rodents visited the drum more often than the slab design. From these results it was concluded that bait stations similar to the drum design should be used whenever bird poisoning is a concern. When small native mammals are present in the area, additional precautions should be taken to protect these animals from being poisoned. Also discussed are potential problems associated with the use of bait stations.

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