The Forestry Corporation recently put out a press release about how well, they reckon, the endangered Smoky mouse is doing Nullica State Forest. So well in fact that two of the mice were trapped and sent to Canberra, where their scent was used to help train dogs for the Office of Environment and Heritage.
The OE&H want the dogs and the ‘eau de smoky’, because they hope to find some mice, in the adjacent South East National Park, where the last one was located in 2013.
The press release quotes Forestry Corporation’s Eden-based Senior Field Ecologist, Peter Kambouris, saying ” . . . The collaborative predator control programs Forestry Corporation is undertaking across tenure in conjunction with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage are certainly assisting the Smoky Mouse.”
Although as the baiting program doesn’t appear to have helped the rodent in the South East National Park, it seems likely other factors may be at play.
Coincidentally the ABC reported on research, undertaken by University of Melbourne PhD student Bronwyn Hradsky, who has been monitoring foxes and feral cats in the Victorian Otway Ranges. GPS tagging found that both species are attracted to and aggregate in, areas subject to fire. Consequently, foxes changed their diet, eating more smaller animals. According to Bronwyn ” . . . if you’ve got an animal that can trot eight or 14 kilometers easily in a night there’s not much point doing really localised fox control.You need to coordinate it over a bigger district.”
Back at the Murrah spring has definitely sprung as evidenced by baby possum emerging from mum’s pouch. My first goanna sighting was a young one, digging up one of Forestry Corporation’s 1080 dog/fox baits. While it’s claimed goannas require 550 times more 1080 than dogs to be lethal, using this poison in an uncoordinated fashion remains a contentious issue.
Such matters were supposed to be addressed as part of the so-called koala cores and corridors project, but getting the agencies to raise themselves above minor point scoring seems unlikely.
Haven’t found any evidence of koalas for a while, despite ongoing claims that local koala numbers are increasing due to a ‘lack of disturbance’. However, it’s interesting that the official website for the South East Forest National Park, indicates koalas may been seen in the park.
In contrast the page for Biamanga NP makes no reference to koalas. Whether this means koalas have already been secretly translocated to the SENP is not clear, but it seems likely.