This project combines research, predator control and conservation to improve the resilience of threatened fauna to fire in the Otways.

Fox and feral cat control in planned-burn landscapes to protect threatened species in the Otway Ranges

This research will determine f targeted feral fox and cat control measures before and after planned burns make a difference to the survival of small mammals; if alternative methods of burning – varying intensity, season, block size, patchiness – affect the survival of small mammals post-fire; if and when they will use artificial refuges after fire; how foxes and cats move around the heath landscape; their response to fire in the landscape; and the efficacy of different control methods.

Predators’ distribution and abundance, and their utilisation of particular sites before and after planned burns of differing intensities, is monitored by camera grids, GPS collars and scat surveys.

The impact on small mammals’ habitat of differing fire treatments, and their willingness to use different designs of artificial refuges in burned landscapes is being tested and monitored.

A separate but related and concurrent project monitors the survival rates of and refuge utilisation by potoroos in these same landscapes. Lethal control methods (of predators) are trialled, and their effect monitored.

Delivery & Supporting Partners

The project team will be led by Dr Jack Pascoe (Conservation and Research Program, Conservation Ecology Centre) and includes Mark Le Pla (Conservation Ecology Centre and University of Melbourne), Dr Bronwyn Hradsky (University of Melbourne), Professor Brendan Wintle (University of Melbourne), Dr Barbara Wilson and Dr Mark Garkaklis (Barbara Wilson Pty Ltd), and Dr Phoebe Burns (Zoos Victoria).

Linkages With Other Sub-Projects

This project links directly with the Small Mammal Conservation Project through its  targeted research assessing the diet of feral cats and foxes in the Otway Ranges, the potential of mesopredator release in the Eastern Otways and the installation and operationalisation of artificial refuges post-fire.  Conservation Ecology Centre (CEC) and Barbara Wilson Pty. Ltd. are represented on both project delivery teams.
Working with EMAC, the project provides opportunity for Traditional Owners to have direct input into how their country is managed; this will link with the Pig and Deer Management Project in which Traditional Owners will work with the project team to identify cultural assets to be protected.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Australian Government’s Wild Otway initiative is a three-year $6m commitment towards threatened species management and pest animal control in the greater Otway’s region. The Initiative includes the delivery of a broad and inclusive environmental community grants program and five commissioned sub-projects, which include pig and deer eradication, fox and cat management, Phytophthora (a plant pathogen) management, small mammal conservation and rewilding in the Otways.

Australian Government Wild Otways Initiative website page will be updated regularly with more information when the on-ground works begin. Our CCMA media channels will also be an outlet for project updates. If you would like to receive our regular project Communique please subscribe below to be apart of our distribution below.


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The project area for the initiative covers the area from Jan Juc/Bells Beach to Peterborough, and the Great Otway National Park and hinterlands (Otways Region) in South West Victoria.

The initiative will be delivered in the Greater Otways region of Victoria over the next three years to June 2023.

This project is funded by the Australian Government’. This project will run until 2023.

Contact Us

Colac Office

64 Dennis Street, Colac VIC 3250
PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250
Hours: 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday

T: 1800 002 262

Geelong office

Hours: 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
All mail must be sent via our Colac office
PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250

T: 1800 002 262