PREDA­TOR ALERT

This is the im­age that has left re­searchers at the Dryan­dra and Boy­a­gin Re­serve Area, near Nar­ro­gin, call­ing for more ac­tion to pro­tect the area’s en­dan­gered num­bats and other wildlife from foxes. It was cap­tured on sen­sor cam­era as part of a project led

Narrogin Observer - - Front Page - Saskia Adysti

A con­ser­va­tion group is con­cerned about the in­crease of red fox sight­ings in the Boy­a­gin Na­ture Re­serve and has urged the State Govern­ment to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to pro­tect WA na­tive wildlife.

Sean Van Alphen and Paul Sell­ers are con­ser­va­tion­ists who man­age the Boy­a­gin Bri­gade, a self-funded environmental group that aim to pro­tect the en­dan­gered num­bats in the Dryan­dra Wood­land and Boy­a­gin Na­ture Re­serve.

Mr Van Alphen was one of the found­ing mem­bers of the Num­bat Task Force in Dryan­dra — he took an in­ter­est in Boy­a­gin’s num­bat pop­u­la­tion three years ago and has been con­duct­ing mul­ti­ple sur­veys in the area to mon­i­tor their pop­u­la­tion.

“We had no­ticed that our sight­ings rate had de­creased con­sid­er­ably and feral preda­tor sight­ings — namely the red fox had in­creased,” he said.

“So we de­cided to pur­chase a num­ber of re­mote sen­sor cam­eras to come up with ev­i­dence and how it may af­fect not only the num­bat pop­u­la­tion in Boy­a­gin, but also other wildlife within the re­serve.”

Mr Van Alphen said he spot­ted a num­bat ev­ery 18km dur­ing their first year’s sur­vey, but this year the group only man­aged to spot one ev­ery 65km.

He urged the Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions to ad­dress the is­sue.

“Sixty-five per cent of our cam­eras are pick­ing up foxes and 100 per cent of our cam­eras are pick­ing up num­bats; the same cam­eras that are pick­ing up num­bats are also pick­ing up foxes,” he said.

“We know where these foxes are, the depart­ment knows where these foxes are so let’s do some­thing about it.

“Be­cause that’s what we want, we want ac­tion. We have been get­ting some ac­tion slowly but surely.”

Other than the en­dan­gered num­bats, the Boy­a­gin Bri­gade have also picked up other na­tive wildlife through their sen­sor cam­eras in­clud­ing chu­ditch, red­tailed phasco­gales, woylies, western brush wal­la­bies, echid­nas, western grey kan­ga­roos, war­doo and many na­tive birds.

To re­ceive fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about Boy­a­gin wildlife you can visit the Boy­a­gin Bri­gade Face­book page: www.face­book.com/groups/ dryan­dra.

Pic­tures: Ian Tomb and Sean Van Alphen

LEFT: The im­por­tant Dryan­dra habi­tat. RIGHT: The en­dan­gered num­bat.

Pic­ture: Sean Van Alphen

A num­bat in Boy­a­gin Na­ture Re­serve.

A still from footage of a fox.

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