Dead malleefowl in Hattah NP

To: <>
Subject: Dead malleefowl in Hattah NP
From: Philip Maher <>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2013 14:43:19 +1100

I was over at Hattah Kulkyne and Murray Sunset national parks in Victoria¹s
northwest for the first few (very hot) days of this year and dismayed to
find, next to a working malleefowl mound in Hattah Kulkyne, a newly dead
malleefowl, killed, assumedly, by a fox. It was a female malleefowl probably
in the process of laying an egg as a large chunk of eggshell was with the
pile of feathers. I first came across this mound nearly thirty years ago and
it¹s been in almost constant use since then. During the long drought, the
current pair kept working this mound long after others had stopped and only
gave it away towards the end of the drought.

Foxes are now in huge numbers all through these mallee parks due to the
mouse plague following the big rains over the last couple of summers. Just
about every track in the parks has fox tracks along it. I think there was a
serious fox baiting program in Hattah Kulkyne until about five years ago but
seemingly nothing since. The mice have gone and the foxes are starving and
now eating anything they can catch.

Feral goats have also bred up over the last couple of summers and are all
through Hattah Kulkyne and Murray Sunset. It would appear the parks¹
management are putting their (undoubtedly meager) resources into managing
rabbits and doing a good job but the fox and feral goat situation is out of
control. Probably the only viable way of controlling goats is to trap them
at feeding or watering points. I read somewhere that 80 percent of a goat
population had to be eradicated each year just to stop the population from
increasing. Baiting is the only effective way to control fox numbers. We
cannot afford to lose adult malleefowls.

I've written a letter to Parks Victoria about this situation.

There is a photo of the malleefowl remains in the trip report.


Philip Maher
+61 3 58813378

Australian Ornithological Services Pty Ltd
PO Box 385
South Yarra 3141
Tel: + 61 3 98204223
Mobile: 0417310200


Australian Ornithological Services Pty Ltd
PO Box 385
South Yarra 3141
Tel: + 61 3 98204223
Mobile: 0417310200
Skype: patricia.maher3141


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