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CQ fox control program hopes to boost turtle hatchling numbers


Fox den detection dogs will play a major role in a new program aiming to reduce the number of turtle nests being dug up each season.

Gladstone Regional Council is teaming up with Livingstone Council, as well as Fitzroy Basin Association and the State, to launch the three year program.

Gladstone Councillor Darryl Branthwaite says it'll involve removing the European red fox in a safe and humane manner.

“The program aims to remove foxes from coastal areas to reduce the number of turtle nests being dug up each season,” Councillor Branthwaite says.

“[It] will involve the engagement of a fox den detection dog and handler, with the use of den fumigation, to locate and fumigate active fox dens near turtle rookeries.

“The den detection dog will also play an integral role in the success of the program, as it is highly trained in target species including foxes, wild dogs and feral cats across many landscapes."

Cr Branthwaite says the program kicks off this month and will run seasonally for three years.

"Involving fox control from September during fox den season and again from October through to March to monitor turtle nests during their nesting and hatching season," Cr Branthwaite says.

“The European red fox has played a major part in the decline of ground-nesting birds, small to medium sized mammals and turtles since its introduction to Australia in the mid-1800s."

Signage will be placed at beach entrances to notify visitors about the program.

Image: Supplied