Out foxed

Any foxes or rabbits contemplating a sea change might want to reconsider their options, due to a new program being introduced along the Bunurong Coast.

The South Gippsland Landcare Network (SGLN) has signed a contract with the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) to deliver a three-year fox and rabbit control program worth almost $1 million.

By June 2021, the program will have covered 16,000 Ha of coast from Venus Bay to Walkerville.

“This program should deliver a significant boost to the survival rate of native flora and fauna living along the coast,” said Martin Fuller, CEO of the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.

“Landcare will work with public and private landowners to roll out the program and it will build on existing pest animal programs on public and private land.”

The program is funded by the Victorian Government as part of its Biodiversity Strategy. Farmers with existing pest control programs will be encouraged to continue these, with the assistance of the program.

“Community groups such as Friends of Venus Bay Peninsula, the Tarwin Lower Landcare Group and Walkerville Friends Group are just a few of the interested community people wanting to make a change,” said Mr Fuller.

“SGLN will deliver the project management and on-ground works through a number of avenues including volunteers, contractors, local experts and consultants.”

What’s at stake?
The Bunurong Coast supports a variety of nectar-feeding birds, while the open forests are important for hollow-dependent species such as the threatened Powerful Owl. Seventeen species of waders using Anderson Inlet are covered under international migratory bird agreements.

The Hooded Plover, a nationally vulnerable species listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, lives and breeds on the beaches. The orange-bellied Parrot, a critically endangered species also listed under the Act, has been recorded near Point Smythe.

Threatened mammals include the Swamp Antechinus, a heathland species, and a breeding colony of Common Bent-wing Bats.

Glenn Brooks-MacMillan, Coordinator of the South Gippsland Landcare Network said detailed planning of the project is currently underway.

“While pest animal management in this region has been active for some time, this recent injection of valuable resources will reinvigorate and help resource new landowners and groups to continue the great work.

“We will be calling on the community in the area for their expert knowledge and skills to help deliver this important program.”

This project has been funded by the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity Response Planning program.

A fox
A three year fox and rabbit control program is being introduced along the Bunurong Coast.
Friends of the Venus Bay Peninsula
Friends of Venus Bay Peninsula. From left to right. Back row: Lorraine Norden. Debbie Birkett, Heather Shimmen, Ian Mooney. Front row: Mae Adams, Sue Peterson. Ray Saunders, Will Norden, Janet Carey, Sue Flere, Linda Braddock.