Information re new fencing from Chief Ranger George Paras
• The oldest section of the fence was built in 1968, through the swamp, when the Wildlife Reserves area was just 5 hectares. It had treated pine posts, which are rotten by now. Some of the old fence is still there, George is thinking that there may be a use for it in the Reserves to section off certain areas.
• There were some modifications to the fence in the 1970's. In 1974 and 1977, more land was added to the Reserves, and it now encompassed 28 hectares. The fence though had some "bad spots".
• Research: Since 1993 a lot of studies in situ (South Australia), and research was done prior to deciding what type of fence was needed. LaTrobe University wanted a functional, fireproof, long-lasting, robust fence to keep the fauna out and in , as applicable, and to enhance land management. A donation of $75,000 was received for the project. The DSE website was used also to check on the numerous varieties of fences available. The Rangers also followed up other sanctuaries' past experiences with fences, and asked a lot of questions.
• Design: Basic design. Galvanized Steel fence with an overhanging section on top and the bottom buried in the ground. Nothing can climb over it, or burrow beneath it, (except an echidna managed it recently). Height = 2.4 - 2.7 metres, Length = 2.1 - 2.2 kilometres. Low voltage electric bands are to be added yet. Very old trees, (some 400 years old ), are on the inside of the fence, younger ones on the outside.
• New Gates: designed to be overlapping, with 3 foot deep concrete underneath. They are wide and strong enough to admit large trucks, eg. Fire Engines. There is a 40 mm gap between the bottom of the gates and the concrete, not enough for foxes and cats to get in. Pedestrian access may be via a swipe card, or turnstiles.
• Foxes: They were baited in the area in 1990 with home made, tasty baits. Since then, there had been a change in Government policy, and now pre-medicated baits have to be used, which the spoilt foxes do not like. Baiting was ceased because it became very expensive. Baiting is to restart now, therefore all residents within a 100 meters of the baiting stations will have to be notified so they can protect their dogs. Pipes and culverts at the back of the Reserve to be made cat and fox proof.
• Electric Fence/Gate wiring: 4 strands of wire , 2 inside, 2 outside, at the top and the bottom of the fence will be applied, one overhead, so nothing can vault the fence. The bottom strand will be2 feet off the ground to save the echidnas getting a shock. The current will be D/C, with low voltage. There will be no wire at the bottom of the gates, but there will be on top. It will function 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. It should be totally electrified by the end of the year. Warning signs will be at 50 m intervals along the fence line.
• Source of Electricity: The fuse box will be positioned in a secure place.
• Controls: A text message will be sent to George's mobile if there is a breach in the fence. Some kangaroos have already dented the fence trying to get in. During storms shorting should not occur, but the response would be rapid if it did. The gates will open whether the power is on or off. The Maintenance Department of LaTrobe has been very helpful. Gaps in the fence will be fixed ASAP. George also wants more armor rails installed at the bend of the bottom end of Grange Boulevard.
• New Projects: DSE proposed that some potteroos come to the sanctuary from unsustainable, burnt-out areas of Victoria, but this has been cancelled now. The Southern Brown Bandicoot project however, is still viable.
• Without foxes, existing and new wildlife should flourish in the Reserves in the future.