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Roy Hill, Fortescue execute trapping trials in Pilbara

Roy Hill and Fortescue are working to improve operations and reduce environmental footprint by deploying one of the first national trials to protect threatened native species in the Pilbara region.

With the assistance of environmental consultancy Ecological Horizons in South Australia and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) Western Australia, the two mining companies are trialling feral cat trapping device Felixer to determine its feasibility on a broader scale.

Barry Fitzgerald, CEO of Roy Hill, said, “In addition to protecting important native species, the Felixer is an opportunity for Roy Hill to use advanced technology to improve operations.”

The Felixer uses an advanced logarithm, light detection and ranging sensors to single out target species – cats and foxes – before then spraying the target species with a gel laced with 1080 toxin, most toxic only to non-native species.

With a doctorate in the effects of mining and pastoralism on ecology, the inventor of the Felixer and founder of Ecological Horizons Dr John Read said the large impact of mining locally could be negligible if miners decided to take on appropriate, proactive environmental measures.

Read is in the process of running trials of the Felixer across the country in locations where feral animals pose a threat to native wildlife, and to date has had a high success rate.

Read said, “Mining companies have an opportunity to achieve positive benefits. Protecting species like this is a way to have a positive net effect.”

Australia’s feral cat population poses a high threat to biodiversity nationwide. Feral cats, found across all of Australia, have killed up to 400 native animal species collectively, including several million birds, reptiles and mammals everyday.

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