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Conservation project saved by a fence

Waratah Fencing
South Australian biologist Dr John Read along with partner Dr Elizabeth Moseby operate environmental consultancy company ‘Ecological Horizons’ halfway between Kimba and Whyalla, SA.

Exclusion fencing does more than just protect sheep and cattle. For South Australian biologists John Read and Katherine Moseby, it protects endangered native flora and fauna from predators and pests which had previously devastated their populations.

Dr Read and Dr Moseby operate South Australian based environmental consultancy company ‘Ecological Horizons’, with Dr Moseby specialising in reintroducing threatened animal species. They conduct a range of services including fauna surveying, environmental impact statements, monitoring of threatened species, vertebrate pest management, providing scientific advice, and project design for monitoring mine impacts.

Together they operate 260,000 ha conservation property “Secret Rocks” halfway between Whyalla and Kimba, SA. The property is part of the Middleback Alliance which they manage in partnership with the South Australian Department for Environment, Water and Heritage, Simec Mining, and other local landholders.

The last few years have seen an increase in pests that have decimated native species. To manage these pests and help conserve native species, Dr Read has employed the use of an exclusion fence.

“We put up a netting fence to enclose nine square kilometres (900ha) to help protect, in particular, the Malleefowl, Sandhill Dunnart (a small marsupial species) and spinifex species from kangaroos, cats, foxes and goats,” Dr Read said.

After seeing the results of a smaller exclusion fence on his property, Dr Read decided to enclose the entire boundary with Waratah netting.

“We installed a smaller fence a while ago within the property and the results we saw there in the native species population were excellent. It was good to see the land bounce back so quickly after being overgrazed for an extended period of time,” he said.

“We completed the installation of the 13 kilometre boundary fence in June 2018 and, although we have seen some gains with less kangaroos, we’re waiting for rain to see further results.”

With the help of community environmental group, the ‘Green Army,’ the netting was installed in a short space of time.

“The fence looked overwhelming to install at first due to its size but once we got started it was relatively straightforward,” Dr Read said.

“We chose Waratah 3cm netting as it was the only fencing that kept small pests such as rabbits out.”

Dr Read said they naturally chose Waratah fencing as they wanted to invest in a quality Australian product.

“We wanted a fence that will last and is made from Australian steel. We’ve had experience using cheaper products in the past and they haven’t lasted,” he said.

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