birding aus <>
Ian Fraser <>
Wed, 01 Aug 2001 08:39:36 +1000
Sorry! I 'replied' the following to Michael Hunter yesterday, instead of
to the group as intended!
THe high tolerance of some SW species (particulary herbivorous mammals
and to a slightly lesser degree their predators) is due to the natural
occurrence of 1080 (Sodium Fluoracetate from memory) in many SW pea
plants. THe name Poison Pea for many species, particularly in the genus
Gastrolobium, relects this. It is also the prime reason that the Darling
Ranges are still in pretty good nick - sheep sent to graze them didn't
It also means that the SW is in a unique position in Australia in that
fox control by 1080 can be carried out with minimum harm to non-target
species. This has been used to protect (eg) Numbats and Mallee Fowl at
Dryandra and Noisy Scrub-birds at Two Peoples Bay, in the course of
which Gilbert's Potoroo 'reappeared' after having been presumed extinct
for over a century.
Since Australian birds are not leaf-eaters to any significant degree,
any 1080 tolerance in them would not be likely to derive from this
source, and there is no obvious reason (ie to me!) why SW birds would be
more tolerant than any others.
This is all off the top of the head and I'm sure our WA friends will
give us more detail.
Unfortunately this doesn't help the rest of us - distribution of 1080
for foxes and cats would be a big plus for wildlife if it weren't for
the minor disadvantage of being lethal to them too!
Ian Fraser & Margaret McJannett,
Environment Tours; Vertego Environmental Wordsmithing
GPO Box 3268, Canberra, ACT 2601
ph: 02 6249 1560 fax: 02 6247 3227
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