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Download: Hughes_et_al_2011_Assessing_risk_of_poisoning_of_devils.pdf

This well referenced paper in a very reputable, peer-reviewed journal focuses on palatability of a particular bait type (Foxoff) to one species (Tasmanian devils). Although the discussion is very good, I think the conclusions drawn are not put into the full context of Tasmanian fox baiting, in particularly that:

1. 1080 degrades rapidly in most baits making risk assessments based on original doses of limited value for discussing risks through the time of bait availability (ie the risks present worse-case scenarios),

2. the low density of baits in the landscape (ie individuals are unlikely to many) and

3.  to be at risk, an animal has to consume a lethal dose within a short time (a day or two) since it is metabolised and not accumulative.

All of these issues, and others, are important in risk assessment.

It’s worth noting that other species both much more susceptible to 1080 (than devils) and probably more capable (than devils) of finding buried baits are possibly more at risk.

An extract from the discussion is important for putting the whole exercise in context.

”...It is important, however, to distinguish between the risks to individuals and populations (Soule´ 1985, Choquenot and Ruscoe 1999). The threat that an established fox population would pose to devils and other non-target species may outweigh the individual mortality risk from poisoning. Fox eradication efforts on the mainland usually achieve a net benefit for native species despite a certain amount of nontarget species mortality (Glen et al. 2007).”