Date of this Version
Management of Biological Invasions (2023) 14(4): 775–791
Handling editor: Luís Reino
Thematic editor: Catherine Jarnevich
We conducted research to develop a safe and effective toxic bait to control the small Indian mongoose (Urva auropunctata), an invasive vertebrate predator impacting the survival of native species in Hawai‘i (United States) and in other parts of the world. A preserved fish-based bait product was found to be highly palatable to mongooses in cage trials and subsequent formulations with diphacinone (0.005%) showed promise as an efficacious toxic bait for mongooses. This product is intended for future use to control mongooses in conservation and urban areas, and as a biosecurity tool at ports of entry to address accidental introductions into mongoose-free areas. Anticipated delivery of this toxic bait is in tamper-proof bait stations. We designed three prototype bait stations constructed with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) drainage pipes and evaluated their performance in enclosure trials with wild-caught mongooses and in field trials with free-ranging mongooses. A commercially available tamper-resistant rodenticide bait station was also used for comparison to the prototypes in our trials. The goal was to develop a bait station that is readily used by mongooses, allows for bait consumption in place, prevents removal of bait, and restricts access to non-target animals. We used a non-toxic formulation of the fish-based bait product and monitored bait station use, visitation rates, bait uptake, and spillage. All four bait station types were used by mongooses in the laboratory, and one PVC bait station design and the commercial bait station exhibited multiple mongoose visitations with minimal bait spillage in the field. We did not record any significant non-target species interactions with the bait during the field trials. The PVC bait station design and commercial bait station are approved methods of bait delivery in the subsequent field efficacy trials under an Experimental Use Permit for the upcoming registration of “Fish-based Bait for Mongooses” with the Environmental Protection Agency.
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