Chance to track ferals

24 Sep, 2003 10:00 PM
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THE Department of Agriculture is inviting visitors to this year's Royal Show to track feral pests.

The Department had hidden a receiver in the Department of Agriculture Centenary Pavilion and with the help of a radio antenna and set of headphones, visitors can locate the feral animal or pest.

Animal pests can cause big problems in WA.

They can host diseases that affect livestock and other animals, kill livestock or native species, and can damage native flora, crops and even buildings with their droppings or through burrowing.

Program manager Greg Pickles said radio tracking was used by the department to learn more about feral animals.

"To help protect our agricultural industry and our native plants and animals, it helps to know as much about the animal pests as possible. We can do this in part by tracking them," he said.

Department staff put tracking tags on one or two animal pests in a study area. The tags come in different sizes, depending on the animal."

The tags transmit a signal similar to a radio wave, which is too high for animals to hear.

A small battery that lasts for up to three years powers the transmitter.

The technology is also used to detect populations of feral and pest animals that need to be destroyed.

Department staff trap one animal and then use the transmitter tracking technology to locate populations of pest animals such as starlings.

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