The Challenge

One of the biggest challenges faced in the Western Region of NSW is controlling vertebrate pests such as wild dogs, foxes, rabbits and feral cats. These vertebrate pest animals cause significant impacts on both livestock production and native animal abundance and diversity within the region. There is growing support amongst landholders for a more integrated pest management strategy consisting of baiting, shooting and trapping. However, landholders, contractors, and rangers across the region have varying skill levels for trapping with some needing to learn the skill from scratch, whilst others are seeking to refine their skills, as well as new techniques to gain more effective trapping control.

The Solution

To improve the effectiveness of trapping vertebrate pest animals in the Western Region, two trapping schools were held in two different locations. Acknowledging that the cost of any training course is a considerable barrier for attendance, the courses were funded in partnership from both AWI Ltd (Australian Wool Innovation) and MEPAAW (Managing Existing Pest Animals and Weeds). As a part of the trapping school, attendees gained knowledge of vertebrate pest biology and ecology, current legislation considerations and trapping equipment considerations from trapping experts with over 40 years of combined experience. At the course attendees were also given trapping kits and had the chance to gain first-hand experience in the field as a part of the course.

The Impact

The two trapping schools were attended by 25 people including Landholders, NSW NPWS (National Parks & Wildlife Service) staff and Kangaroo harvesters who were seeking a different income stream. There was great collaboration at the events with many attendees sharing various trapping techniques as well as information and the legal obligations with regards to the humane destruction of animals trapped. At both trapping schools no vertebrate pest animals were trapped, however, in the weeks after the course attendees reported catching wild dogs and pigs using the skills gained throughout the course. Ultimately, this indicates that conducting trapping schools adds to people’s pest control toolkit, which can help with vertebrate pest control in the region.

For more information and PDF download please visit: https://landcare.nsw.gov.au/groups/Western_landcare/keeping-vertebrate-pest-numbers-at-bay/

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