Concern as fox sightings up

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald

A conservation group is concerned about the increase of red fox sightings in 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 aims 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, red-tailed phascogales, woylies, western brush wallabies, echidnas, western grey kangaroos, wardoo and many native birds.

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