New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2011) 35(3): 287- 290

Effectiveness of cyanide pellets for control of dama wallabies (Macropus eugenii)

Short Communication
Lee Shapiro 1
James Ross 2
Pauline Adams 3
Ron Keyzer 3
Steve Hix 1
Duncan MacMorran 1
Celia Cunningham 1,4
Charles Eason 1,2,*
  1. Connovation Limited, PO Box 58613, Botany, Manukau 2163, New Zealand
  2. Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Ecology, Lincoln University, PO Box 84, Canterbury 7647, New Zealand
  3. Department of Conservation, PO Box 1146, Rotorua 3040, New Zealand
  4. The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

Dama wallabies (Macropus eugenii) are an introduced pest in New Zealand requiring control. Historically, sodium fluoroacetate (1080) has been used to control wallabies but there is increasing resistance to this method of pest control. Pen trials have shown that Feratox® cyanide pellets are an effective and humane toxin for use on dama wallabies. The aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of these cyanide pellets in field trials for controlling dama wallabies. Twenty-four dama wallabies were captured, radio-collared, and released in a 32-ha block of degraded native forest south-east of Rotorua. Twelve of the wallabies left the study area within 3 days of being released and were subsequently located at least 3 km from the area during the trial. Two weeks of prefeeding was carried out with non-toxic baits that consisted of 213 paste bait (Connovation, Auckland, NZ) mixed with a molasses powder with a single placebo Feratox-sized pellet inside; this was followed by the presentation of Feratox pellets in the same bait formulation. Of the 12 collared wallabies that were at the study site when toxic baits were laid, 11 were killed with Feratox; 20 uncollared resident wallabies were also killed. These results support the use of Feratox cyanide pellets for control of dama wallabies.