Effect of a synthetic lure on site visitation and bait uptake by foxes and wild dogs

Bait stations containing unpoisoned commercial fox bait (Fox-Off®) were alternately
treated with an aerosol delivered synthetic canid lure to identify any preference for
site visitation and bait uptake by wild dogs and foxes.

Application of a formulation of Synthetic Fermented Egg (FeralMone?) to the surface of bait stations significantly increased site visitation by wild dogs (P < 10-6) and foxes (P = 0.03) when compared to the use of buried commercial baits alone. The increase in bait uptake by foxes to SFE treated bait stations was highly significant (P = 0.002) when compared to bait uptake at untreated stations, although this effect diminished with time, possibly due to the use of non-lethal baits leading to the discovery of all bait stations and the habituation of animals to sites of reward. Bait uptake by wild dogs, although limited, occurred only at those Fox-Off® bait stations treated with FeralMone? and was statistically significant (P = 0.004).

The utilisation of an aerosol based canid lure allowed the volatile ingredients of FeralMone? to be kept in a stable medium whilst ensuring an easily administered and consistent dose was applied safely by the operator. Pre-baits treated with FeralMone? were also used as part of this trial in an attempt to increase control point investigations as a result of target animals consuming pre-baits and actively seeking the target scent after ?positive reinforcement? of the scent. Pre-baiting results identified an upward trend in site visitation and bait uptake for both wild dogs and foxes, however further research is required to provide sufficient data for a full statistical analysis.

The ability to lure wild dogs and foxes to points of control using an aerosol based synthetic lure (FeralMone?) is effectively demonstrated within the field trial described here.

Author Rob Hunt
Year 2004
Institution NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Pages 33
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