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Bengsen A.,University of Queensland | Bengsen A.,CSIRO | Bengsen A.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Leung L.,University of Queensland | And 3 more authors.
Ecological Management and Restoration | Year: 2011

Mitigation of feral pig (Sus scrofa) impacts in Australia's Wet Tropics World Heritage Area has been impeded by the lack of a target-specific method for delivering toxic baits in the region. This study evaluated methods to reduce bait-take by susceptible nontarget species without inhibiting bait-take by pigs, to enable more effective pig management. We predicted that dingoes would not select an unprocessed corn bait and that other potential nontarget bait consumers would be unable to access the same bait presented under a lightweight cover. Neither of these methods was expected to reduce bait selection or access by pigs. We tested these predictions by monitoring animal interactions with covered and uncovered corn baits, and covered corn and manufactured baits. Use of corn as a bait substrate effectively prevented bait-take by dingoes. Covering baits substantially reduced bait-take by other nontarget species and completely prevented nontarget bait-take when uncovered feed was provided simultaneously. The corn bait preparation was highly acceptable and accessible to feral pigs. We conclude that the methods evaluated here could enable the consideration of poison baiting as a viable method for controlling feral pigs in the World Heritage Area, where it has previously been unavailable. © 2011 Ecological Society of Australia.

Meek P.D.,Invasive Animals CRC | Meek P.D.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Meek P.D.,University of New England of Australia | Ballard G.-A.,Invasive Animals CRC | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Camera traps are electrical instruments that emit sounds and light. In recent decades they have become a tool of choice in wildlife research and monitoring. The variability between camera trap models and the methods used are considerable, and little is known about how animals respond to camera trap emissions. It has been reported that some animals show a response to camera traps, and in research this is often undesirable so it is important to understand why the animals are disturbed. We conducted laboratory based investigations to test the audio and infrared optical outputs of 12 camera trap models. Camera traps were measured for audio outputs in an anechoic chamber; we also measured ultrasonic (n = 5) and infrared illumination outputs (n = 7) of a subset of the camera trap models. We then compared the perceptive hearing range (n = 21) and assessed the vision ranges (n = 3) of mammals species (where data existed) to determine if animals can see and hear camera traps. We report that camera traps produce sounds that are well within the perceptive range of most mammals' hearing and produce illumination that can be seen by many species. © 2014 Meek et al.

Snow N.P.,Texas A&M University-Kingsville | Snow N.P.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Halseth J.M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Lavelle M.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Invasive feral swine (Sus scrofa) cause extensive damage to agricultural and wildlife resources throughout the United States. Development of sodium nitrite as a new, orally delivered toxicant is underway to provide an additional tool to curtail growth and expansion of feral swine populations. A micro-encapsulation coating around sodium nitrite is used to minimize detection by feral swine and maximize stability for the reactive molecule. To maximize uptake of this toxicant by feral swine, development a bait matrix is needed to 1) protect the micro-encapsulation coating so that sodium nitrite remains undetectable to feral swine, 2) achieve a high degree of acceptance by feral swine, and 3) be minimally appealing to non-target species. With these purposes, a field evaluation at 88 sites in south-central Texas was conducted using remote cameras to evaluate preferences by feral swine for several oil-based bait matrices including uncolored peanut paste, black-colored peanut paste, and peanut-based slurry mixed onto whole-kernel corn. These placebo baits were compared to a reference food, whole-kernel corn, known to be readily taken by feral swine (i.e., control). The amount of bait consumed by feral swine was also estimated using remote cameras and grid boards at 5 additional sites. On initial exposure, feral swine showed reduced visitations to the uncolored peanut paste and peanut slurry treatments. This reduced visitation subsided by the end of the treatment period, suggesting that feral swine needed time to accept these bait types. The black-colored peanut paste was visited equally to the control throughout the study, and enough of this matrix was consumed to deliver lethal doses of micro-encapsulated sodium nitrite to most feral swine during 1â€"2 feeding events. None of the treatment matrices reduced visitations by nontarget species, but feral swine dominated visitations for all matrices. It was concluded that black-colored peanut paste achieved satisfactory preference and consumption by feral swine, and no discernable preference by non-target species, compared to the other treatments. © This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

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