Effectiveness of toxic baiting for the control of canines and felines

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Yong Zhi Foo, Daniel W.A. Noble, Patrick Leo Taggart


Toxic baiting is used for the lethal control of mammalian predators. It is easily applied over large areas and can be highly effective, but also receives significant criticism. We conducted a meta-analysis of the efficacy of lethal baiting for the feral cat, red fox and dingo; our outcome of interest was predator survival. Our dataset contained 125 effects from 35 studies, comprising 1560 individuals tested. Overall, baiting increased the probability of predator death by 36% relative to control plots. However, this effect was stronger (46% increased probability of death) when baits were distributed along tracks relative to across areas (probability of death comparable for baited and unbaited areas). We found no evidence that baiting was more effective at reducing canine relative to feline populations. We additionally found no evidence that Eradicat® achieved greater cat death than other baits. Higher bait densities achieved greater predator knockdown when baits were distributed along tracks, but not when baits were distributed across areas. We found no evidence that repeat bait applications over short periods of time achieve greater population reduction than single bait applications; this was consistent across both design types. Similarly, we found no evidence for an effect of bait matrix (fresh meat, dry processed bait, mixture) for either design type. Our study shows that many accepted baiting practices and perceptions have little empirical support, and are premature given the available sparse evidence. Further, rigorous research is of high priority in this field.




Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


Lethal, population, Biat, Pest, management, Control


Published: 2024-04-11 14:20


CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International

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Conflict of interest statement:
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Data and Code Availability Statement:
All data and analysis scripts will be made available open-source through GitHub after review.