Sophie and Rocky return to protect turtles
September 10, 2016
The duo, who specialise in detecting fox dens, are contracted as part of the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program, a $7 million, four-year program now into its third round of funding.
The program funds fox detection and trapping around Australia’s premier mainland turtle nesting site, Mon Repos Conservation Park and further north, to protect turtle eggs and hatchlings from predators such as pigs and foxes.
Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said last year the dogs were an invaluable asset for detecting fox dens and protecting turtles.
“Turtle nesting occurs on the beaches from the Elliott River north to Bustard Head and Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting for the endangered loggerhead turtle,” Dr Miles said.
“Last year QPWS located 20 new fox dens within a 4km by 1.5km coastal strip from Burnett Heads to Elliott Heads.
“About 70 percent of those were found thanks to public responses to ‘dob in a fox’ but the rest of the dens were found by the fox detection dogs.
“Trapping caught five adult vixens and three males which were trapped and humanely destroyed. Four vixens had on average four foetal young, so that’s a lot of foxes that could have eaten turtle eggs and hatchlings.
“While the turtles are important in conservation terms, and a much-loved part of the local community, they are also a big tourism drawcard for the region and the community is keen to help for all these reasons.
“A key part of the Nest to Ocean project is raising community awareness and empowering residents to report fox-den locations.
“Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is leading the $118,400 Mon Repos project, Beyond the Beaches for a second year and has had a great public response.
Further north between Bundaberg and Agnes Water another fox control program is starting, funded by round two of the Nest to Ocean Program. The Burnett Mary Regional Group for Natural Resource Management was granted $659,359.
Sophie and Rocky will be stationed at Mon Repos from today before moving on to Agnes Water on 16 September.
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