FOXES and feral cats in City of Canning’s parks and bushland reserves are the target of a new research program aimed at protecting native fauna from predators.
The City will take part in a regional research program, run by UWA and an environmental consultancy company, to reduce the number of foxes and feral cats in urban areas.
At last month’s council meeting, councillors agreed to allocate $30,000 towards the program over a three-year period, starting in 2017-18.
City officers said in a report foxes and feral cats posed an increasing threat to native fauna, including threatened species.
It said taking part in the program would help with feral pest management across the broader Perth metropolitan area.
The report said the program involved trapping 15 feral cats and 15 foxes and fitting them with GPS and ultra-high frequency collars before their release for six months at a time.
Researchers would then map the animals’ movements and habitat and identify interactions between cats and foxes, as well as assess if a wildlife conservation detection dog trained to locate cats, foxes and fox dens would be cost-effective.
The report said foxes were indiscriminate feeders with a diet including native fauna such as quenda, long-neck turtles, reptiles and birds.
Feral cats were also a major cause of decline for many land-based endangered animals, such as the bilby, bandicoot, bettong and numbat.
“Foxes are well-adapted to city living and are commonly found in urban areas,” the report said.
“The fox has played a major role in the decline of native fauna.”
The City currently engages a contractor to trap and eradicate the animal in the City, with 10 to 15 of them captured each year.