TURTLE CONSERVATION: Hatchling Loggerhead turtles on Mon Repos Beach Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
TURTLE CONSERVATION: Hatchling Loggerhead turtles on Mon Repos Beach Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

Foxes on the run in turtle season

BETWEEN 2014 and 2015, foxes were responsible for the loss of up to 66% of turtle clutches on some beaches along the Woongarra coastline.

With the turtle season again in full swing, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers are doing all they can to prevent these high numbers from re-occurring.

According to QPWS ranger Shane Jackson, a joint state and federal program called the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program is providing $7 million over four years to help with fox detection work.

"So far the work has identified 65 new fox dens. Ten dens have been fumigated, and soft jaw foothold traps have been installed at 16 den entrances," he said.

"The trapping yielded five adult females (or vixens) and three males, which were trapped and humanely euthanased."

"The fox dens were uncovered along the coastal strip between Burnett Heads and Elliott Heads, using a combination of the public Dob in a Fox campaign, ground truthing with fox-detection dogs and searching targeted areas and soil types favoured by fox denning."

Additionally, to protect turtles, QPWS have also installed protection enclosures at Mon Repos beach, which prevents foxes from being able to access nests, which have been relocated into the enclosures.

"QPWS has also worked jointly with Bundaberg Regional Council to install a protection enclosure at Archie's beach at Bargara. This beach was identified as an area, which suffered significant impact from both foxes and dogs during the 2014 to 15 seasons."

Mr Jackson said under the program, QPWS was leading the two-year $130,240 Mon Repos project, Beyond the Beaches.

"The program is tapping into community concerns by empowering the public to call in fox den locations," he said.

"About 70 per cent of the fox dens were found by public responses to brochures, and we're grateful for the community participation."

Fox hotline

Fox hotline

Residents can "Dob in a Fox" to QPWS Ranger Shane Jackson on 0419 645 820 or Bundaberg Regional Council on 1300 883 699.