Natural Area sent a team out to the Carnarvon Rangelands to participate in feral animal management training provided by Central Regional TAFE. This was a week-long course and our team learned valuable skills that will assist Natural Area in delivering high quality feral animal management services using best practice methodology. The following overview provided by Daniel Pekel from our team explains what the training involved.
The first two days mainly comprised of going through government legislation and regulation around the use of poison and firearms in regard to animal welfare and pest control. We did a little bit of practical work with leg hold traps and did a basic run through on how to lace a trap with Strychnine (or sugar in this case) using a piece of fabric and some wire. At the end of day 2 after doing another practical on Canid Pest Ejector calibration we planned our supplies for the next 3 days out bush within Mardathuna station.
We arrived at Mardathuna station just before lunch the next day and much to our delight the wildflowers were in full bloom reflecting the wettest winter the Carnarvon region has had in 20 years. After a brief chat with the station owners we headed towards our camp site named Starlight Motel which had a fantastic view of the edge of the Kennedy Ranges. After getting settled in, the stations trapper Adam showed us some different types of traps he uses and some basic operational maintenance. After that we set out to find some signs of wild dogs and with the help of Adam’s dog Eve we discovered some scats at one site and some tracks at another. With the sun setting we headed back to camp for some dinner and a bonfire under the stars.
After being awoken to the stunning sunrise over the Kennedy Ranges and a quick breaky we loaded up some traps onto Adam’s ute and set out. We checked on a couple different sites to see if he had caught any dogs. Adam then took us to some new sites and gave us demonstrations on how he sets up a site using traps location and scent markers while controlling his own scent. Then after lunch we all took turns picking out our own sites and laying traps. We ended the day with another campfire and a BBQ.
On day 5 after breakfast we started with firearms training and had target practice on empty cans. Shortly after, we made some 1080 baits and did more practice with the Canid Pest Ejectors on some fresh Kangaroo meat.
The course was a great experience, we had three generations of doggers providing us with tools and knowledge in some form or another which allowed us to see tried and tested methodologies as well as improvements in the technology and standards of practice currently applied in industry. Our lecturer Ben Maslen delivered the course in a fun but practical manner which allowed us to leave with a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. All that combined with the best wildflower and bird breeding season Carnarvon and Mardathuna station has seen in 20 years set in stone the best educational experience one could ever dream of.
– by Danial Pekel