Fence to protect Nullaki

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee Inc executive officer Shaun Ossinger.
Camera IconWilson Inlet Catchment Committee Inc executive officer Shaun Ossinger. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson INSET: A mardo found during the survey. Picture: Craig Carter

An 8km fence under construction on the Nullaki Peninsula could create the biggest feral animal exclusion area on the south coast.

The fence will stretch from the cliffs overhanging the Southern Ocean to the Wilson Inlet in an effort to keep feral animals out of about 2400ha of the Nullaki Peninsula.

The fence was originally built more than 20 years ago, but has broken down.

Now, the Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee is replacing the mesh and adding a floppy top along its length as an alternative to the electrics, which often failed.

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WICC executive officer Shaun Ossinger said they hoped to have the Nullaki Peninsula mostly feral pest-free within five years.

“Foxes and cats place an enormous pressure on our native fauna,” he said.

“A single feral cat kills approximately 700 native animals a year.

“This equates to around two billion natives lost to cats annually across Australia.

“Combined with pressures of habitat fragmentation and fire, many of our native animals, like the western ringtail possum, are on the brink of extinction.

“Excluding ferals from large sections of remnant vegetation is an essential tool going forward if we are going to make a difference.”

The fence will be combined with an intensive feral management program of 1080 baiting and cat trapping, and a host of camera traps across the reserve.

He said when the Wilson Inlet sandbar was closed, which was becoming the norm, there was a land bridge connecting Denmark’s Ocean Beach to the Nullaki Peninsula.

“It has always been theorised that feral animals use this land bridge to cross into the Nullaki from the west,” he said.

“We have had cameras set up in this area since December 2019 and have yet to pick up any cats or foxes using this area. However, we are not naive to the fact that this is a possibility.

“To compensate, we are intensively baiting on the western end of the Nullaki and exploring means of adding a second, smaller feral fence on the west end of the Nullaki.”

The fence is due to be completed in mid-2020.

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