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  1. Another $25 million each?

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  14/03/12  at  08:56 AM
  2. These ‘new’ scats were collected 8 and 9 months ago! When this scat-DNA program was announced in 2006, it was spruiked by the CEO of the Invasive Animals CRC that the test could provide results of fox presence in Tasmania within a week.

    How can Tasmania eradicate a resident crapping fox population if these critical results take 8 to 9 months to hit the emails of DPIPWE’s FEP? Some past test results from this Canberra lab took over 12 months to come back to Tasmania!

    “Nine (9) other fox positive scats have been collected from within a 10km radius of the current scat.”

    That’s only about 78 sq km, it’s not particularly a meaningful cluster at recognised scat ‘hot spot’ over 4 years.

    A single fox produces on average 6 scats each day (like other caninds for defacation & making purposes) - takes over 2000 defecations a year for each fox!

    The FEP have found 2 DNA- fox positive scats per year at this site. Why can’t the fox-scat sniffer dogs find more than 2 scats a year at this site?

    That recovery rate represents only 0.09% of all the scats produced in a year by one fox!

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  14/03/12  at  08:59 AM
  3. and this “evidence” justifies the spending of $4million - $5million per year of treasury funds.!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by mike seabrook  on  14/03/12  at  09:16 AM
  4. It must be budget time again.

    Posted by Stephen  on  14/03/12  at  09:42 AM
  5. Pulled another couple of imported Victorian fox craps out of the freezer have we?

    Any of these DNA related to any of the other fakes, or each other, by any chance?

    I live near Railton and there is no way any fox is there, or been reported. Never seen or heard, not even once - nada, zilch, zippo!

    Who’s property are they ‘supposedly’ being found on?

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  14/03/12  at  10:09 AM
  6. Russell, the issue of direct fabrication of these scats found in Tasmania should be easily responded to by the FEP and it’s fully-funded molecular genetics testing laboratories in Canberra and the ACT.

    The issue of the presence of ‘fox-DNA’ in carnivore scats found in Tasmania needs careful analysis of the what could be the explanation for DNA-fox detection in the absence of any Tasmanian foxes.

    Option 1: There is or was a fox (or foxes) at these scat-locations and the scats are a genuine indicator of fox presence [the FEP argument];
    Option 2: There was a fox there, it died,got eaten by a devil or nibbled on by a hungry quoll and their crap tested positive. [The first ‘scat cluster’ of 5 scats at Conara collected in Sept-Oct 2006 was explained by DPIPWE in those terms.];
    Option 3: 1080 buried meat baits are perhaps contaminated with a DNA-containing fox product and they were eaten by a local animal that then had its crap tested as positive;
    Option 4: Inadvertent contamination of collected carnivore scats had occurred in Tasmanian over the last 8 years - [61 DNA-fox positive scats in ~10,000 carnivore scats tested since 2004];
    Option 5: Imported fox scats that are claimed to be recovered from a Tasmanian location that tested fox-positive [the most serious claim of fabrication];
    Option 6: Fox DNA-contamination as a result of the chain of custody in FEP or in the testing laboratory

    Please note that this DNA species-specfic test is an amplification of mitochondrial DNA; the genetic signal from a test sample is increased as a result of the lab’s Polymerase Chain Reaction amplification of that target gene product. It means that the ‘copy numbers’ of the diagnostic DNA sequence [the forensic fingerprint for ‘fox’] could have been very small in the original sample and that it was derived from inappropriate hygiene in the human handling i.e. DNA-contamination from the field collection through to the testing laboratory. The Institute of Applied Ecology lab in Canberra was closed, on several occasions, for decontamination precisely for this reason.

    The FEP actually imported large quantities of DNA-containiming fox products. At the same time (these imported fox products included fox urine, fox feet, fox skins, foxes carcasse) they were using this DNA-test to survey carnivore scats over a 3-year period. This basic issue of DNA-contamination should have been seriously understood and considered as a likely explanation for these paradoxical scat detection results in the absence of any suporting credible evidence that foxes exist or existed in the landscape of Tasmania.

    The finding of a single DNA-fox positive scat on Bruny Island in 2009 should have rung warning bells to the managers of this program. Follow up surveys to detect fox presence, any impact on ‘at risk’ wildlife species and the recovery of further fox scats on Bruny Island was all negative.

    Valid questions for the Manager of the FEP and the IAE testing lab in Canbera to respond on.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  14/03/12  at  11:50 AM
  7. FEP has a perceived conflict of interest.  It is in the interest of FEP to justify their continuing existence by coming up with fox scats. 

    Mainland scientists from the CSIRO need to independently verify this data as irrefutable - paid for by Canberra.

    Meanwhile, the $50 million would be better invested in eradicating the Devil Facial Tumor disease and to Recovery Plans gathering dust for threatened species such as the Giant Lobster, the Orange Bellied Parrot, Grey Goshawk, plus this lot:
    http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/SJON-58K8WK?open

    Posted by Tigerquoll  on  14/03/12  at  12:22 PM
  8. Agree with the comments. The whole thing stinks. If there were foxes, why can’t they find “evidence” beyond a few old turds?

    Posted by Frank Tooby  on  14/03/12  at  12:41 PM
  9. It is the purest coincidence that the scats were discovery only days after calls from the Libs for the FEP to be eradicated.  The Tas Govt, as always, is at pains to avoid insulting the intelligence of its limpet-sharp supporters.

    John Hayward

    Posted by john hayward  on  14/03/12  at  01:13 PM
  10. No foxes reported to the FCA since 2007.
    Either no foxes of breeding age here or everyone in Tasmania is deaf.
    Dog foxes should be heard calling from the end of April.
    Vixens should start squalling in June.
    Report any calling foxes to Fox Control Association. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Posted by J A Stevenson  on  14/03/12  at  01:23 PM
  11. Can I suggest the FEP change their area for collection. The Loos of Parliament House would have plenty of scats, collect these, send them to the laboratory and check the DNA for any sign of intelligence. I think the result would confirm
    many peoples opinions!!

    Posted by Roger Cameron  on  14/03/12  at  03:47 PM
  12. #10. Dog foxes should be heard calling from the end of April.
    Vixens should start squalling in June.

    I think you got it wrong. Both groups start squalling at the end of the finacial year in March!

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  14/03/12  at  04:28 PM
  13. People on the mainland get the impression that this is just another scam from your mendicant little state.
    We also get the impression that your media are terrified of the Fox Task Force and your government.

    Posted by Stephen  on  14/03/12  at  05:18 PM
  14. Hey FEP, I saw a fox shit in the woods in eastern Victoria.

    Do you want me to mail it to you COD like the last ones?

    Posted by Tigerquoll  on  14/03/12  at  06:26 PM
  15. 2 questions:
    #1. What era on the geological time table were these scat-eroos deemed to have been defacated?

    #2. What does a strategic monitoring activity consist of?

    Posted by William Boeder  on  14/03/12  at  10:16 PM
  16. According to Mr Craig Elliott (former Qld copper and Biosecurity boffin), the FEP are now claiming that, out of the blue, they find a scat associated with a reported sighting at Railton. Just the one poo; collected 8 months ago.

    Did the trained scat-dog display the characteristic ‘sit’ behaviour indicative of the discovery of this scat find? If so, why did it take 8 months for a test result to return to the FEOP and be announced to the General public?

    How useful is a scat test result that arrives 8 months after it’s collected? When IA-CRC first announced this DNA-crap test, it was promoted as a 7-day turnaround test to help detect foxes in Tasmania.

    Maybe this long delay is a convenient excuse for why intensive follow up pursuits of futher fox craps wasn’t undertaken at this site. Or was it? Yet all along the FEP has told the general public that our resident Tasmanian foxes were at ‘very low density’, ‘widespread’, ‘elusive’, ‘cryptic’, ‘intelligent’ and now it seems, the kind of beastie that squats, craps & scrams!

    Rohan Wade, estwhile reporter for the Examiner then the Mercury, and now a Government advisor, asked 8 years ago for the DPIPWE program to please produce a credible Tasmanian fox.

    Finding 61 pieces of Fox-DNA in Tasmania from 10,000 submissions to Canberra but still no Tasmanian foxes - photographed, trapped, poisoned or shot by this 47-person taxpayer-funded eradication team. How is Craig Elliott and DPIPWE Secretary, Kim Evans understanding that paradox? And so too, the Commonwealth Government!

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  15/03/12  at  06:12 AM
  17. #16 Yeah, that one got lost in the post.  It was returned to sender.  I had to resend it registered mail.  Shit happens.

    Posted by Tigerquoll  on  15/03/12  at  07:04 AM
  18. Is the testing done at UCanberra   truly independent and at arms length? Are there mates’ connections between the Fox Task Force and the testing authority laboratory. Dr Obendorf’s comment has outlined just how sensitive the PCR machine can be to the slightest bit of cross-contamination of Fox DNA from unassociated samples that have been in the same room, and also the history of just this problem occurring, presumably unintentionally in that case.

    Posted by Max Siddens  on  15/03/12  at  08:37 AM
  19. Re; # 12 Which one is the vixen? Are the greens the cubs?
    Only the vixen squalls, a weird eerie sound, origin of the Banshee legends.
    The dog foxes bark is similar to some small dogs.

    Posted by J A Stevenson  on  15/03/12  at  08:48 AM
  20. #19 Banshee scats.  That’s what they are!
    If she’s a wail’n, either someone sure about to die or she’s else constipated in them woods.

    Posted by Tigerquoll  on  15/03/12  at  11:33 AM
  21. Max Siddens - The Institute of Applied Ecology can be Googled - they put out an annual report which broadly discusses their role within the former IA-CRC and their contractual arrangements with DPIPWE to provide this DNA species-specific test. Over the last few years the DNA testing of carnivore scats from Tasmania has been a lucrative program for Dr Sarre and his genetics laboratory. As contracted partners for this Tas fox program, IAS (Univ. of Canberra) does not share their data publicly with anyone except FEP/DPIPWE and the Scientific Advisory Committee to the FEP.

    There are no issues with this mtDNA test per se.  A little clarity on their methodology and quality control to diffferentiate between false-positives resulting from human error/DNA contamination and comparison of scat results from Tasmania with known fox scats from mainland Australia (as positive controls) would be helpful.

    Has, for example, this lab done basic tests on false-positive results created by another aninal eating msaterial containing fox products and whether their faeces test positive in the mtDNA-fox test? What about contact-contamination with fox products like biological fox lures and the issue of human contamination of field-used materials where the handling of fox scats or fox urine also has occurred.

    These are very basic considerations when a genetic forensic test is used as the ONLY TEST to demonstrate that the red fox is present in Tasmania. Those questions have never been answered?

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  15/03/12  at  12:30 PM
  22. Re: #18, My comment at #18 actually pointed out the link in the form of a specific and named staff member of Tas Fox Task Force , who is known to Dr Obendorf, and who used to work at Institute of Applied Ecology. However the Tas Times editor cut all that out before publishing my comment.

    Ed: <i>It was potentially defamatory and an attempt was made to explain this to you by email, but your email addy doesn’t exist…

    Posted by Max Siddens  on  15/03/12  at  01:11 PM
  23. I’ve got some hand-me-down Dicynodont poo if anyone wants to start up an eradication programme.

    It doesn’t smell anymore, but I have plenty of prepaid Express Post envelopes and they know me at the post office.

    Posted by Tigerquoll  on  15/03/12  at  05:13 PM
  24. This is all very frustrating.  I tried very hard to get the parties concerned to publicly debate the issues, without success.  61 widely spaced DNA positive scats out of 10,000 collected? That sure seems strange to me.  Eight months?  Your kidding, right? One that turns up on an island?  There is no doubt in my mind that sample contamination or some other unknown factor could well be the reason for this.  I think we would all like to know.  I have lost faith in the FEP’s willingness to address such simple questions that they should have looked at years ago.

    Posted by Alexander  on  15/03/12  at  07:43 PM
  25. Don’t forget folks to keep rubbing your bit of polystyrene on a piece of glass.Foxes can’t resist coming to have a look.You’ll need a GOOD torch as well.

    Posted by Philip Lowe  on  15/03/12  at  10:58 PM
  26. # 20 If you have ever been escorted from a vixens earth after dark through woods, with a squalling vixen close behind, constipation is the least of ones worries, quite the reverse.
    Under these circumstances hairs do stand erect

    Posted by J A Stevenson  on  16/03/12  at  08:29 AM
  27. #26, Does its head spin around and spit mud?

    Posted by Tigerquoll  on  16/03/12  at  12:03 PM
  28. The usual claptrap nonsense and paranoia from the ‘big-brother always tells lies’ brigade. Scats testing positive as that of foxes - must be contamination. Fox carcases found on roads - must be planted. No doubt when one is photographed it will also be fake. If one is caught I suppose it will have to have been smuggled into the State.

    Do any of you wonder why reputable scientists from around the country, expert wildlife officers, governments both Federal and State, farmers and ordinary Tasmanians can not only get it so wrong but, in some cases, engage in massive coverups to justify their activities? Why do they all suffer from mass ignorance sqandering tens of millions of dollars? Of course, the answer is -  they don’t.

    It’s a similar analogy to the climate change denialists - some selective science coupled with a vocal, self-appointed ‘expert’ group shouting from the rooftops. I only hope no one is listening. In the case of the climate denialists they have had a disastrous impact on the public policy debate and decision making surrounding climate change.

    Still the great fox hoax will no doubt continue to occupy the minds and column inches of the TT in-crowd. In the mean time the remainder of us will get on with a reality that has to be dealt with.

    Posted by Phillip  on  16/03/12  at  12:53 PM
  29. Re #28
    You were partly correct in that reputable scientists (the foremost experts in this very field) from around the country, expert wildlife officers, farmers and ordinary Tasmanians have been ignored.

    Still, Phillip, how about one single indisputable shred of evidence from you?

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  16/03/12  at  04:10 PM
  30. #28.Do any of you wonder why reputable scientists from around the country, expert wildlife officers, governments both Federal and State, farmers and ordinary Tasmanians can not only get it so wrong but, in some cases, engage in massive coverups to justify their activities? ... Phillip

    There are several millions of tax payer Dollars expended on this project every year.

    It employs 47 people locally and several more in a lucrative business in the mainland laboratories.

    Under the present system, it only takes ONE PERSON with his own interests at stake to drop a single turd somewhere, or to claim that a scat has proved positive to continue the gravy train for another year. It is accepted at face value without any meaninful enquiry or due diligence, and that does not pass any scientific criteria test!

    There is a history of cover-ups of their own activities such as importing scats, urine and fox parts. What guarantee is there that all the scats placed for ‘training purposes’ are those that are actually recovered and accounted for or have not been substituted by an employee, for instance?

    Is there anyone who can guarantee the probity of every individual in this collective group of over fifty who are dependent on this for their living?

    I think not!

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  16/03/12  at  04:21 PM
  31. Philip [comment #28] thanx for your contributions. Perhaps you need to check the Fox Taskforce’s information and statements on the public record on exhibits of fox offered up over decade. What you appear to be ignorant about is the ever-changing explanations that have been offered by FEP and their operatives for these carcasses, skull, ‘blood’ incidents. Too incredible to be credible.

    In the absence of any basic connection between public sightings and corroborating evidence - over 11 years - is it any wonder that the quality of the evidence used to justify a $50 million program to ‘eradicate’ foxes in Tasmania is questioned?

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  16/03/12  at  04:47 PM
  32. Re the claimed ‘big brother always tells lies brigade’, is it the ‘big brother always tells truths’ brigade that would make better administrators, or policy advisers or applicators?

    Posted by russell  on  16/03/12  at  05:36 PM
  33. #5
    Do you happen to have any proof that this is the case (frozen scats )?  If not then this statement is unjustifiable and shouldnt be published.  The freezing of biological material damages dna and is recognizable upon forensic analysis.
    How would you know if anyone reported a fox sighting in Railton?  Do you think you know everything that happens there or that the person involved came running to your door to let you know about it? Im sure privacy issues prevent the FEP from making public landowner information..
    #6 Are you seriously suggesting that every fox dna positive scat recovered in Tas is the result of fabrication ( a very serious allegation, and one that has no proof to this end )cross contamination in the lab, ( very poor lab standards they have in canberra if thats the case. its a wonder any result from them can be trusted eh )or the result of poor evidence handling in the field.  ( have you observed FEP officers in the field and had a chance to examine their evidence collection skills? )
    #10
    No fox sightings reported to whom? The FCA?  is that an official group?  If not, then why would people report in to this FCA instead of the FEP, who are widely known as the people to report to? Laughable really. Are you looking for some sort of funding for this group? and as for the calls?  how many people in Tas actually know wot a fox sounds like?  do all these people spend every minute in the right spot to be able to hear a fox if it calls. Thats a ridiculous assertation that doesnt hold water.

    #12 Is the end of the financial year March this year? Gee does that mean i should be getting my tax return early this year??
    #16 how do you know if the scat was found by a dog or other means? were you there?  Maybe no foxes have been shot or trapped because the fep dont currently utilise these methods?  maybe they havnt been caught on camera because of low population density ( try looking at the studies done on phillip island with ir cameras )poor camera placement or maybe its just the crappy cameras the fep have access to?  You know, slow response time, slow refresh rates, poor infra red flash system etc etc. 
    #30
    oh please… if you can prove that someone is fabricating evidence please do provide us with the details, otherwise such a statement is a slur on people that idoubt you even know and therefore cannot possibly judge their nature or ethical standards.  I find this type of unsubstantiated claim offensive and ask for it to be withdrawn..unless you have something to back it up with of course??

    Posted by puddledog  on  16/03/12  at  09:35 PM
  34. #33 Puddledog - here is an attempt to wipe up your mess.

    A department staffed by 47 Ghost Busters who have not found a genuine fox in over ten years does stretch credibilty somewhat.

    There are others outside this task force who are also experts in the field and have laid genuine criticisms concerning most aspects of this team and their claims.

    If nothing else, the charge of ‘incompetence’ must be well deserved.

    It has also been revealed that they themselves have been importing evidence ‘for training purposes’ for many years and the fact that they initially denied this does not augur well for their probity. Also, the fact that the details of the evidence they purport to have found magically appears many months later, just in time for the budget and a new annual allocation of funds.

    These are indesputable facts, which outweigh anything that the Fox Task Force has been able to produce to date.

    When they are reduced to making statements like “no fox has been found in the areas we have been baiting proves the success of the program,” it starts to enter the realms of fantasy. The fact that no fox was found in these same areas BEFORE the baiting progam weighs not at all in their assumptions.

    Maybe they should be treated like bounty hunters and paid on results. ‘Reward - $5000 per FOX - Dead or Alive.’
    Beyond that, nothing.

    As I say - Ghost Busters, the lot of them!

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  17/03/12  at  07:11 AM
  35. #33, fair points.. Now brace yourself!

    Posted by Simon D  on  17/03/12  at  08:29 AM
  36. #9 - the Libs called for the change months ago, I think you’ll find it was the Greens who promoted the idea a week or two ago.  For someone bashing the government for a loose association with the facts perhaps you should check yours every now and then.

    #10 - here’s an alternative theory for you, no one contacts the FCA since 2007 because - wait for it - why would anyone bother contacting you? What are you going to do?  Ask them if they recorded the sound so you could listen to it?

    #28 - Hear hear! Interesting parallels between climate change scepticism and denial and Tasmanian fox scepticism and denial.  Just need a few shock jocks on the radio and a convoy of trucks driving to Canberra to add to the fox ‘debate’.

    I find all of this fascinating and from looking into the facts, as opposed on relying on self-appointed expert bloggers - it seems that no one has attempted something this big before, no one has experience with ‘low density fox populations’ either in spotting them or killing them, no one really know what size the problem is here nor how foxes are moving about (or not) and most importantly no one can claim to be an expert. Maybe #24, that is the frustrating part.

    There’s a body of evidence of foxes being introduced into Tasmania since the 1800’s and I for one am glad the government is doing something instead of sitting on their hands and hoping it all works out. The FEP just needs to get its act together and get a bit quicker or, as I posted in the other blog article, get the results from Canberra quicker.  Eight months delay is a joke.

    Posted by AN  on  17/03/12  at  08:36 AM
  37. The FCA is not interested in fox sighting which may or may not be genuine. Same for scats.    Only calls of mating foxes are of any use. Foxes easily travel 50kl per night.
    Members of the Fox Task Farce who have visited me to attempt to obtain our cooperation were. Steve Barrow, Peter Harrison, Ken West and finally at the instigation of David Llewellyn. Nick Mooney. I explained to all that they were wasting their time and taxpayers money.
    I explained to Nick Mooney that if we stood at the end of the drive and heard foxes calling I could say which was the dog fox and which was the vixen. Date and time exactly when they were there. The scat collectors come along a month later, find the scat, which is sent away for testing and 8 months later this scat is confirmed as fox, sex unknown. Meantime the foxes would have bred, raised their cubs a dispersed. As latest reports of scats submitted 8 months ago.
    The FCA is a loose association of people who supply their post code area and means of receiving information. Preferably e-mail. In the event of mating foxes being reported in their post code area they would be notified to be alert and listen to define the foxes likely breeding area.
    The FEP do not seem interested in this method of fox detection, which in any case is only of use when fox densities is very low. Where foxes are endemic they are bound to be heard.
    I learnt of this method of fox control 73 years ago.
    For every one person who sees a fox 100 will hear them up to 1kl away.
    I have no idea why this method of fox detection has not be publicised.
    Where have you been the past 10 years while this saga has been played out?

    Fox calls

    http://www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/CMAR-5K47QB?open#Vocalisations

    Posted by J A Stevenson  on  17/03/12  at  09:00 AM
  38. Re #33
    “Do you happen to have any proof that this is the case (frozen scats )?”

    Try putting 2 and 2 together to get 4 instead of 4,000,000!

    Just where would you think they kept all the imported fox turds? In a desk drawer, or on the window sill maybe?

    “How would you know if anyone reported a fox sighting in Railton?”

    Would have been FRONT PAGE NEWS! I also live nearby. Small towns, you know?

    “Are you seriously suggesting that every fox dna positive scat recovered in Tas is the result of fabrication ( a very serious allegation, and one that has no proof to this end )”

    Absofukenlutely! How do account for every single fox turd found having a completely different DNA to the last? Do we have 60 or so totally unrelated foxes out there?

    “...then why would people report in to this FCA instead of the FEP, who are widely known as the people to report to?”

    Maybe people would, if the Fox Task Farce bothered to turn up, or before a few days had passed?

    “...maybe they havnt been caught on camera because of low population density…”

    There just happen to be thousands of cameras walking all over Tasmania every single day. Got a mobile?

    How about you do better than everyone else and come up with just one irrefutable shred of evidence to show a fox is here in Tasmania? Hmmm? Back it up.

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  17/03/12  at  12:32 PM
  39. I see that on another recent thread JA Stevenson wrote:

    “Without the work of Ian Rist fox scats would still be being found all over Tasmania.
    He alone is responsible for stopping the Task-farce importing fox scats from NSW.
    Since then no fox scats have been found.”

    So if the scat-finding had supposedly been exposed and stopped by critics then how is it explained that it continues?

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  17/03/12  at  06:56 PM
  40. Comment 39.
    There is quite a difference between the heyday 4-6 scats a week and 2 recent desperation scats in two years.
    Go figure.

    Posted by Stephen  on  17/03/12  at  08:01 PM
  41. Not sure about the scat finding, contaminated methodology perhaps? The previous denial of mass scat imports is on the public record and the official correction. Remember, they were gearing up for importing live vixens as well, until the lid came off. Were the public going to be told of live fox imports? Any more scats been found on Bruny yet? Never mind, the heat is off. They can now concentrate on the cats and perhaps get to use some of all that firepower at their disposal. Wonder how long the purchase and dissemination of the 1080 will go on for though? They must have qualified for some federal feral species money. We must save those political faces from derision, mu-sent we? Just remove the ‘s’ from scat and we have cat. Add an ‘s’ to hit and we have…?

    Posted by russell  on  17/03/12  at  08:05 PM
  42. #39.So if the scat-finding had supposedly been exposed and stopped by critics then how is it explained that it continues?

    Possibly by contamination somewhere along the chain, either deliberate or accidental.

    Possibly a better way of dealing with them is to divide all scats in half and send to different laboratoriers for analysis, then compare results?

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  17/03/12  at  08:15 PM
  43. Some questions for #33 and #36

    After collecting 10000 turds over 7 years, if you have collected 61 widely dispersed scats, are you detecting foxes very well?

    If your DNA results are 6-12 months old, how is this actually helping you find foxes and do you think they would be there waiting for you when you got back?

    If you look at the rate of 0.61 % as detection success, are you happy with this?

    How does a fox positive scat get onto Bruny Island?

    If 1/61 = 1.6% KNOWN error (approximately) is higher than the detection rate (0.61%) this does not bother you? Not even a little? (It bothers the hell out of me).

    If you can’t detect them, how can you eradicate them?

    If your KNOWN error is higher than you detection success, don’t you want to find out the TRUE error? How can you ignore the error already known?

    If you don’t have one piece of evidence that a fox has taken a bait, how are you measuring eradication?  Are you just going to assume it is the case? Faith?

    If you have no case that the bait used is likely to have sufficient impact upon a fox population you can’t detect, you just brush this under the carpet too? Faith?

    If the second published review of the FEP said of the physical evidence some of the fox bodies were indeed hoaxes and that it was impossible to tell the difference between a well planned hoax and a genuine fox.  They said that they were forced to accept them as being genuine. Why are you more confident than the reviewers?

    If the original ‘conspiracy’ to release foxes in Tasmania was later found to be a load of bull, this is also no problem?


    I think it is those who are so dogmatic about that which is supported by so little evidence after so much time who are lacking objectivity. I see these as real issues above.  If it were not the case, I might tend to support your views and would be happy to do so.  But I can’t as these are real issues.  Please answer them if you can. 

    No one else from FEP has even bothered to try.

    Posted by Alexander  on  17/03/12  at  09:29 PM
  44. #33 Puddledog

    “Do you happen to have any proof that this is the case (frozen scats )?  If not then this statement is unjustifiable and shouldnt be published.  The freezing of biological material damages dna and is recognizable upon forensic analysis”

    I thought this was a very interesting observation and looked into it a bit. 

    It seems that you are right when it comes to genomic DNA.  But the scat DNA test uses another type of DNA called ‘Mitochondrial DNA’. This is the DNA that you can get more reliably from old museum specimens and it also seems to be obtained from frozen samples in some of the studies I found on line. 

    Mitochondrial DNA is also more easily a contaminant of samples in the laboratory and in the field because a cell contains many more copies of it.  This would be just the sort of stuff that would produce contamination by the look of it. 

    I also see that the reliability of the scat DNA test has not been tested on very many known negatives.  So, if the reliability of the test is not known to a level that would show that 61/10000 samples taken from the field can’t be normal error, how do you know its not?  This is a fair question I think.  Every test has error born of normal mistakes and laboratory errors.  What is this test’s error?

    Posted by Alexander  on  17/03/12  at  10:03 PM
  45. Re #40 I think if I’m to “go figure” something then those figures should at least be correct, and yours are not.  In the past two year period there have been not two but twelve scats reported as detected.  It is true that only four of those scats were claimed to have been collected during the last two years, but past experience shows that there will very likely be future scat claims covering supposed collections during that period.  So the drop-off in the claimed evidence rate is likely not so sharp as you suggest (and the average was hardly ever 4-6/week for any sustained period anyway.)  And the continuation of scat-finding at any level falsifies the comment I was querying.

    And re #41 the proposed switch to cats is at this stage simply a proposal by various green groups, sceptics, farmers and so on, rather than an official intention of the program.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  18/03/12  at  12:26 AM
  46. Re # 42. Problem is it has always been a closed shop.
    The foxes have always been in charge of the hen house.
    The Foxoff bait suppliers, scat DNA testers, pheromone producers are all on the payroll and are all members of the CRC Invasive Animals.
    The people that placed the MAINLAND ADS for fox shit are all part of this.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  18/03/12  at  03:46 AM
  47. #35 Thanks. Am suitably braced lol.
    #37 So the unofficial FCA are only interested in calls?  The easiest form of evidence to fake?  All it would require is a laptop, some speakers and the CD of fox calls and voila, hundreds of reports of fox calls could flood in…if people actually knew what it was they heard that is. And if they knew how to contact this FCA, I mean, your not exactly widely publicised are you?
    #38
    Let me rephrase my #33. Do you have any evidence that previously imported and subsequently frozen scats have been used to fabricate evidence by FEP members?  I also doubt that a fox sighting in Railton would be FRONT PAGE NEWS, after all, do you think that the person reporting such a sighting would really want to expose themselves to the sort of ridicule that they would recieve in such a small town?  Im sure there would be much more newsworthy goings on in your area anyway?  Every single recovered fox positive scat in Tas is fabricated?  Really? By whom?  Total hypothesis and unsubstantiated, it doesnt even dignify a response..Mobile phone cameras?  yeah they are really the right tool to use for wildlife photograpy arent they. I can just see it. A fox runs across the road, motorist stops car, grabs pnone, unlocks the phone,opens the camera app and readies phone for pic of fox.  Oh too late, fox is gone. Unless motorists etc are wandering around with their phones/cameras in hand ready to go instantly its not gonna happen is it.  Just think of how many feral cats there are in Tassie ( you do believe that there are a few of them right ) how many of these cats have been captured on remote cameras placed in bush locations for animal monitoring purposes?  In fact heres a challenge for you.
    As far as im concerned the evidence has been produced, its up to others to be able to prove that this evidence is faked..
    #42 I like the idea of dividing scats and sending them to seperate labs for testing, but im afraid that the extra expense generated by double handling/testing may well give more ammo to the critics…

    Posted by puddledog  on  18/03/12  at  09:03 AM
  48. Re #47
    “So the unofficial FCA are only interested in calls?  The easiest form of evidence to fake?  All it would require is a laptop, some speakers and the CD of fox calls and voila, hundreds of reports of fox calls could flood in…”

    So, why haven’t there been, not even one?

    Let me rephrase your #33. Do you have any evidence that previously imported and subsequently frozen scats HAVEN’T been used to fabricate evidence by FEP members?

    “Mobile phone cameras?  yeah they are really the right tool to use for wildlife photograpy arent they.”

    Yes actually. And not one single photo of a fox. Tourists actually walk all over Tassie with their cameras on at the ready or mobile phones in camera mode every single day of the year. You oughta get out some time.

    “how many of these cats have been captured on remote cameras placed in bush locations…”

    They’re shot all the time, but not with cameras ;)

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  18/03/12  at  05:51 PM
  49. Re #43, the bulk of the supposedly about 10,000 scats in question were collected during the so-called Great Poo Hunt.  Beyond being targeted at perceived likely fox habitat and in what was thought to be the best season, the survey did not discriminate between fox scats and scats of other carnivores.  Nineteen fox-positive scats were collected during this program, out of over 6000 collected.  That’s simply consistent with other carnivores being collectively hundreds of times commoner than foxes.  The ratio doesn’t prove the result true, but there’s also nothing inherently suss about it.

    Of the remainder, we need to know whether the number of scats tested is really as high as the few thousand implied by subtracting the 6000+ GPH scats from Dr Obendorf’s estimate of “~10,000”.  And to this end, before attempting any back-of-envelope math or inferences from the remaining stats, you should be verifying Dr O’s unsubstantiated figure by asking him where his figure of about 10,000 comes from and what is the breakdown (in terms of general testing of all scats vs specific tests for scats thought to be from foxes.)  You refer on this thread to losing faith in the Task Force’s willingness to address simple questions, but in the case of this claim by Dr Obendorf, there were simple questions to be asked of Dr Obendorf and you have not even asked them.

    (PS Last sentence of my #45 is apparently out of date now, as of today.)

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  18/03/12  at  07:00 PM
  50. Alexander, the figure of ~10,000 scats tested in Canberra is provided in the Instutute for Applied Ecology’s [Univ of Canberra] Annual Report for 2010.

    ‘Almost 1600 scats were collected during the 2010 survey [in NW Tasmania], bringing the total number of scat samples analysed during this project to over 9,700.’ [Page 14]

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  18/03/12  at  09:08 PM
  51. #48
    Stop using selective quotes please Mr Langfield, if you want to quote please use it in context.  I have already given you an answer to fox call question at #47. in addition to that though how do you know that calls havnt been reported to the FEP? Maybe they have, but since calls are easily faked or mistakenly identified and impossible to verify, they dont bother to follow them up or class them as an unsubstantiated report.
    As you may well know it is not a requirement for someone to prove innocence.  As this forum seems to be a court of public opinion then it seems only fair that people who claim something unlawful is being done be able to prove it.  Its a load of unsubstantiated scat that anyone in the FEP has been involved in the deliberate manufacturing of evidence.  If you KNOW for sure that this is occuring please name the individuals involved and produce evidence that will be able to stand up in a court of law.  Dont worry, you cant be sued for slander if your claims are true, so put up or…well you know.
    Tourists with cameras?? really?? How many of them are actually aware tas has a fox problem.  how many of them are actually wandering around the countryside at the right time and the right place, actually paying attention and wanting to grab a snap of a fox on their phone?  Not many id wager.  and then how many of them would actually bother reporting said photo? I mean, how many tourists are walking around in the “Tarkine"with their phones at the ready at the moment?  Quite a few maybe, but what were the photos of Devils in this area captured on?  Thats right remote operated infra red motion sensing cameras. The best tool for the job..
    Which ties in nicely with your last point, feral cat photos. I didnt ask you to tell me that they were shot all the time with some daft little emoticon attached, i asked you how many have been caught on cameras placed around the state for various reasons.  Let me give you some background. I used to be involved in a rural crime prevention program in Tas. One of the duties i used to perform was the instillation of remote surveillance cameras. Susequently i would also review the footage gained. guess what? plenty of wallaby, devils,a few quolls lots of birds and people doing things they shouldnt have been doing, but no cats, and no foxes either.  But cats are out there in large numbers so why didnt i get one on film ( actually they use SD cards, but you know what i mean )?  Ive got plenty of theories on this, but its getting late and i cant be bothered right now, so maybe next time. 
    Take care all, and remember, the simplest explanation is usually the right one…

    Posted by puddledog  on  18/03/12  at  10:51 PM
  52. I think the first point is simply that if you have to collect 10,000 scats to find 61 foxes it is an inefficient methods of detecting them at the very least.  If you can’t find them, you can’t eradicate them.

    If one of your 61 fox scats turns up on an island without foxes then that is 1/61 that you know is in error.

    If you have some error it is only logical to explore if the true error could explain 61/10000 positives = .61/100 = .61%.

    Posted by alexander  on  19/03/12  at  01:00 AM
  53. I need to add to # 46…

    46. Re # 42. Problem is it has always been a closed shop.
    The foxes have always been in charge of the hen house.
    The Foxoff bait suppliers, scat DNA testers, pheromone producers are all on the payroll and are all members of the CRC Invasive Animals.
    The people that placed the MAINLAND ADS for fox shit are all part of this.
    Ad also the same people have organised “independent” fox reviews and have given sworn evidence at the PAC Inquiry.
    Some of that sworn evidence now disproven including the 2009 and public letters denial in 2010 that fox scat imports where even happening.
    Reminds me to ask where has Porkie the pig man been deposed,  the Siberian salt mines?

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  19/03/12  at  01:13 AM
  54. Re # 51.
    Firstly puddledog please be who you really are…your attempted disguise of misspelling, bad English and then very articulate words in the next sentence doesn’t do your credibility any good at all.
    Still that ploy has always been one of the many deceitful contributions used by the “foxes are here” people and often used through this sad saga… could it be the same person?
    Anyway in # 47 puddledog says ...  “Just think of how many feral cats there are in Tassie ( you do believe that there are a few of them right ) how many of these cats have been captured on remote cameras placed in bush locations for animal monitoring purposes”

    DPIPWE has many hundreds of feral cat images taken by fox/devil remote cameras, so does the NPWS.
    Just recently feral cats were photographed in the Tarkine.

    My friend and colleague David Lee Alford and I have been using remote cameras for years in Tasmania and I have cards full of feral cat photos, some taken in the remotest areas of Tasmania (in David’s case hoping for a photo of a Thylacine).

    Mr. Langfield’s comment in # 48 “They’re shot all the time, but not with cameras” simply states that cats are shot with firearms not cameras.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  19/03/12  at  08:01 AM
  55. Re #51
    “in addition to that though how do you know that calls havnt been reported to the FEP?”

    Like you keep insisting, give us the evidence please.

    “Quite a few maybe, but what were the photos of Devils in this area captured on?  Thats right remote operated infra red motion sensing cameras. The best tool for the job..”

    After this in your #33: “( try looking at the studies done on phillip island with ir cameras )poor camera placement or maybe its just the crappy cameras the fep have access to?  You know, slow response time, slow refresh rates, poor infra red flash system etc etc.”

    And again: “One of the duties i used to perform was the instillation of remote surveillance cameras. Susequently i would also review the footage gained. guess what? plenty of wallaby, devils,a few quolls lots of birds and people doing things they shouldnt have been doing, but no cats, and no foxes either.”

    Make up your mind. Are they the best or not? Excuses, excuses, excuses, each more flimsy than the last.

    “the simplest explanation is usually the right one…”

    Yep, there has been no substantiated irrefutable evidence of fox presence in Tasmania over the past 11 years of this farce because there aren’t any foxes, simple as that.

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  19/03/12  at  08:24 AM
  56. Re: # 47 Try transmitting fox calls at night of a volume detectable 1kl away ans see how long you would go undetected. Fox calls can not be left lying about so someone can find them later.
    Obviously you never read agricultural publications. Every police station from Launceston to Smithton and down to Queenstown have been supplied with enough CD’s to equip every police car with copy.
    Some Members of Parliament belong to the FCA. Some contributors to TT and many others who read it but do not contribute .Members names are not released to prevent the being ridiculed by people like yourself
    Why hundreds of fox calls have not been reported is because it is extremely doubtful if at the present time there are any foxes in Tasmania.
    Foxes have been imported on numerous occasions since 1850 but have never established a breeding population but it could happen any time. That is the reason the FCA was formed. The first breeding season they would be detected.
    How can you be sure the Fox Taskfarce have not a large freezer full of scat.
    Some 5000 and 10000 year old frozen DNA still viable.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ötzi_the_Iceman

    Posted by J. A. Stevenson  on  19/03/12  at  09:18 AM
  57. Frozen scats?
    10000 year old mammoth.

    http://www.google.com.au/search?q=Mammoth+DNA&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7GGLL_en&prmd=ivnsu&source=univ&tbm=nws&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=6X5mT5juHcGhmQWdu8zzDw&ved=0CCcQqAI

    Posted by J A Stevenson  on  19/03/12  at  10:36 AM
  58. Inefficient? (#52) Perhaps so but not in a way that alone makes the result suspicious. 

    As for Bruny Island, you are assuming that there was never a fox on Bruny to produce that alleged scat - but do you actually know that?  It is, after all, not scientifically impossible for one or more foxes to be introduced (either deliberately or accidentally) to Bruny Island, which is connected to the Tasmanian mainland by a ferry crossing on which numerous vehicles of various sizes cross daily.  Unless you can really eliminate that possibility, your argument that the Bruny Island scat must be in error (with all that you derive from that) doesn’t even get off the ground.  It is easy for anyone to say they don’t believe the Bruny record to be true - but saying you don’t believe it to be true, and saying that you know it must be false are two very different things.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  19/03/12  at  10:52 AM
  59. Mr Thomas, I suggest you exercise some discernment in any response on TT. It is a flaming Hell-realm for a few contestant-bloggers and their demands for answers or responses become insatiable.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  19/03/12  at  11:48 AM
  60. Just ignore it, let him do his own research.
    Starting with LC Hansard 17TH April 2007 where Mr Dean had a motion passed a 11 votes to 4 against for a Police InvestIgation.
    Little Davey Llewellyn would not allow the Police to proceed.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  19/03/12  at  12:02 PM
  61. Re #58
    And being isolated on that tiny island one would think that there would be more than just one scat and that ‘the’ fox would be easily heard, seen, shot or witnessed in one way or another by now, hmmmm?

    You ad puddledog can stick to your amusing beliefs that if no-one proves there isn’t one then there is and the rest of Tasmania can have a good laugh about it.

    I’m still waiting for the scats of rogue elephants to be found. What, you say there’s no elephants running wild here? Prove they’re not here then.

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  19/03/12  at  12:27 PM
  62. The Pied Piper had a very effective way of exterminating vermim with calls.

    Has it been tried here?

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  19/03/12  at  12:44 PM
  63. A search of Bruny Island revealed no other evidence of foxes and the FEP declared it to be fox free. 

    Sure, I can’t prove that a fox took the ferry, carped once, then took the ferry back.  But I can’t disprove a claim that the tooth fairy was on the ferry either. 

    Any test will have a measurable error.  it’s about time to find out what this is with the scat DNA test.  The only practical way of testing the accuracy of the technique now is against samples taken from fox free areas.  Anyone can speculate that any positive scat means that a fox must be there, but always giving the benefit of the doubt to this test is unscientific unless the real error in the test and field procedure is known to be 100%.

    Practically, It is only an island result that would show error as it is easy speculation that foxes are crawling over all of Tasmania proper.  So, any positive scat is simply concluded to be indicative of a fox without a link to the landscape. There are very few island results for scat DNA.  That a single error was found in a small pool of results is cause for concern for a DNA test.

    1/61 must be assumed to be error. The alternative hypothesis of foxes using ferries for short return trips is fantasy.

    61/10000 widely dispersed scats over 7 years shows the technique can’t locate foxes, especially given the results are so delayed. It is also suspect given the indicative error.

    If you can’t find the foxes, you can’t eradicate them. If you know they were there (8 months ago) you also can’t assume they are waiting for you.

    Posted by Alexander  on  19/03/12  at  12:45 PM
  64. #61 is blatant strawmanning - of the very common and tedious type in which if you assert that statement X has not been proven false, sooner or later someone falsely accuses you of claiming X is true.  Russell Langfield claims that I hold the view that “if no-one proves there isn’t one then there is”.  I do not hold that view or anything remotely resembling it.  My actual view is that if a hypothesis is plausible, has some supporting evidence, and has not been debunked, then it should be considered a possibility, rather than dismissed as clearly false.  Considering something to be possible is not the same as assuming it true.  Indeed, it is possible to consider something possible while believing it to be false, and that is actually my own view in this instance. 

    The rogue elephant analogy is inapplicable since there is not even any putative evidence that elephants, rogue or otherwise, are loose in the wilds in Tasmania, and no reason to consider the idea that they are to be plausible. In view of the extreme nature of the strawmanning in #61, I will not be responding further to Russell Langfield on this thread, and he will not be responding to me.  If he claims to be responding to me in any way, the reader should assume he is actually talking to his rogue elephants.

    In #63 Alexander fails to consider the completely plausible possibility that a fox (or more than one fox) became free on Bruny and subsequently died there, for instance underground or with the evidence being consumed by a scavenger.  Also it’s interesting that he criticises the FEP’s ability to detect foxes but in this instance is happy to assume that if they declared Bruny to be fox free (did they? source?) then it must be free of even deceased foxes. 

    There is actually no Tasmanian island that would serve as a perfect test for the scat testing method since those islands that have mammal predators have a more restricted set than the Tasmanian mainland - and generally those that have any mammal predator other than feral cats are also large enough that if a scat is collected, there is the theoretical possibility that it really is from a fox.  A more appropriate test for such errors might be to use scats from captive specimens of the various other carnivore species, but even then they will not be eating their full natural diet.

    The tooth fairy analogy is not applicable since there is no evidence that tooth fairies exist at all, while foxes do (though not necessarily here), and there is claimed fox evidence from Bruny Island that has not been disproven and that is consistent with a hypothesis that is plausible (whether one considers that hypothesis likely or very unlikely being beside the point.)  By all means have an opinion that there were never foxes on Bruny, but that is all it is at this stage: an opinion, not a fact. 

    “61/10000 widely dispersed scats over 7 years shows the technique can’t locate foxes,” - actually there are multiple search techniques being used and it would be more useful to consider them one by one.  But in any case even if the technique only provides information about where foxes were some time ago, that is still better than no information at all. 

    “If you can’t find the foxes, you can’t eradicate them.”  Why not?  Complete information about the current location of a feral species is not an insurmountable obstacle to eradication.  If you can carpet the whole state with baits, they’re going to snuff it whether you know where they are or not.  Whether the existing baiting program is potentially sufficient is another matter, but issues of coverage, volumes and effectiveness are the real sticking points there.

    I really should get #59 moderated but instead I’ll take it as a compliment.  Anyone debating with me who cannot satiate my demands for answers should realise this is because they do not have them and their views, or expressions of those views, have been found wanting.  :)

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  19/03/12  at  10:14 PM
  65. Re #60 the text of the motion in question was:

    “That the Legislative Council takes note of the inconsistencies and discrepancies in the ‘hard evidence’ available to confidently support the proposition that free-ranging fox populations are now established in Tasmania and, as a matter of urgency, calls on the State Government to conduct a full independent investigation into the authenticity of the fox material recovered from the significant fox incidents in this State with a view to increasing public confidence and to determine whether or not any offences have been committed.”

    To say that that motion for a “full independent investigation” was not accepted by the Lower House is a very different thing to asserting that the Police have been told not to investigate fox hoax claims.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  19/03/12  at  10:37 PM
  66. Re # 65
    You better get a copy of todays The Mercury…...........

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  20/03/12  at  06:47 AM
  67. Also for number 65.
    The Police were told via the Police Association in 2002 through a written request from the ministers office to keep out of the fox issue…“this is now a political matter,it is no longer a police matter”.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  20/03/12  at  06:53 AM
  68. Re #64
    No, it’s fact. Your and puddledog’s often repeated suggestion is that foxes are there because no-one has proved they aren’t.

    “The rogue elephant analogy is inapplicable since there is not even any putative evidence that elephants, rogue or otherwise, are loose in the wilds in Tasmania…”

    Prove it.

    “In #63 Alexander fails to consider the completely plausible possibility that a fox (or more than one fox) became free on Bruny and subsequently died there, for instance underground or with the evidence being consumed by a scavenger.”

    Yep, right next to my elephant.

    “The tooth fairy analogy is not applicable since there is no evidence that tooth fairies exist at all…”

    Yeah? Then explain the 20cent pieces that keep turning up. Pretty damn hard bloody evidence to me!

    ““61/10000 widely dispersed scats over 7 years shows the technique can’t locate foxes,” - actually there are multiple search techniques being used and it would be more useful to consider them one by one.”

    And not one of them has shown solid evidence. Not in isolation and definitely not ever linking two of the techniques. Makes the whole charade even less creedible. Thanks, Kevin.

    Re #65
    And did the investigation go ahead?

    You had better have a good re-read of your LC quote, Kevin.

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  20/03/12  at  07:32 AM
  69. Re #66, do you mean this?

    http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/03/20/311071_tasmania-news.html

    Ivan Dean making his usual noises again.  Big deal.  “a group of scientists” - now that’s ... amusing!

    Re #67 I would need to see the full context of that comment to discuss it in detail.  Given that the timing was that long ago I wonder if it was in reference to the investigations into the alleged conspiracy to import, as distinct from any proposal to investigate claims of criminal hoaxing.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  20/03/12  at  09:51 AM
  70. Mr Rist, I suggest you exercise some discernment in any response on TT.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  20/03/12  at  04:02 PM
  71. As a Johnny come lately on the mainland, I have wondered about the negative attitude some have demonstrated towards the member of parliament, Ivan Dean.  Am I right in saying he was in charge of the original police investigation into the claimed fox plot? If so, and he (and the police) maintain that it never happened, I would be pretty interested in what he has to say.  I would have thought he was in a pretty good position to know what was going on back then?  I can’t see what he would stand to gain other than grief?

    Posted by Alexander  on  20/03/12  at  08:38 PM
  72. Long ago, that’s VERY amusing LOL.
    In fact the 2007 Leg. Council motion refers to the 2006 debacles at Lillico, Old Beach and the biggest joke of all the Glen Esk highly movable and twice relocated fox.

    Actually two of the scientists involved are both mainland and are regarded as the two top fox authorities in Australia.

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  20/03/12  at  08:45 PM
  73. Re #72 my “long ago” comment was clearly in reference to the 2002 statement mentioned in your #67 and not the 2007 motion.  I addressed the 2007 motion in #65. 

    Now, obviously there have been mainland fox authorities involved from time to time in questioning the official fox story.  But is this really now some kind of committed ongoing Team No-Fox CSI cartel/institute in league with Ivan Dean?  After the farcically overblown front page claimed “tests” of the Interlaken/Railton shed skull we are entitled to be very sceptical of this latest tabloid piece involving the same politician as translated by the same reporter.

    Posted by Dr Kevin Bonham  on  21/03/12  at  09:28 AM
  74. Alexander, re comment #71 - Ivan Dean was the Northern Commander of Tasmania Police based in Launceston at the time of a formal referral from Minister Llewellyn to investigate a detailed allegation of multiple fox cub smuggling in 2001. Various letters relating to that police investigation including statutory declarations from witneses were released by Tasmania Police to Senator Shayne Murphy in 2002 and 2003.

    If you feel diposed to discuss the matter with Mr Dean, he can be contacted by email or phone - his contact details are available on the Parliament of Tasmania website.

    Posted by David Obendorf  on  21/03/12  at  02:01 PM
  75. #54 Mr Rist, I’ve got no clue as to who you think i may be, and i really dont care. Im interested to know the exact number of photos of feral cats in relation to projected numbers of these pests (and yes, i agree that more resources should be directed to wiping these vermin out )  it would also be interesting to see the breakdown of locations in which these images were captured. I realise that you may not have access to this info, so im just putting it out there for anyone who can provide an answer.
    You raise n interesting point when you mention the Tassie Tiger by the way.  How many people believe that the tiger still exists?  How much evidence has been provided to justify their beliefs?  Its an interesting parralel dont you think?
    #55
    Russell Langfield, of course ir remote cameras are the best tool for the job.  I was merely making the point that the cameras the FEP currently use are not up to the job.  They are, in my opinion, cheap crap..and the brand used is not the right tool for the job. And there has been ample evidence provided, its just that some people dont believe it…as usual.
    #56
    Do you really think that the police give a rats about listening for foxes?  its not their job and they have plenty of other things to keep them busy.I can appreciate that members of the FCA dont want their names made public to avoid ridicule.  Much the sane as people who make reports to the fox hotline would prefer to keep out of the spotlight to avod ridicule from unbelievers.
    #61
    Infantile.. elephants.
    And why am i not surprised you believe in the tooth fairy?  Leave any 20c under pillows lately?

    Posted by puddledog  on  22/03/12  at  08:20 PM
  76. Puddledog, please explain to the world why you require all this detailed information and what are you going to do with it if you get it?

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  23/03/12  at  06:27 AM
  77. Tasmanian Times has recently started to improve in the quality of a lot of its contributions, and there is some learned and interesting discussions. It is becoming a focal point for information seekers since the official press has taken to only offering slanted opinions and placebo quality news. Politicians read it and sometimes it spills over into places like parliament itself. It is becoming authoritive in some issues and people are starting to take note.

    However, there are always present those negative people who will lower the tone by baseless attacks etc, and who seem to get a vicarious joy from vandalism.

    I think you should take more control of your image and discouage off-topic disruptions and establish a new set of principles based on quality. Anything that does not meet this standard should not be printed at all with a message saying simply ‘Thank you for your contribution but it has been judged below our acceptable standard and is therefore deleted’

    I know I am guilty of the offences myself on occasions, but I do try to maintain a high and varied contribution that will interest readers. I have submitted articles, I have engaged in banter, submitted short stories, ideas, original thought, humour, poetry, cryptic comments, exposes such as the Ta Ann connection and positive ideas like ‘My Tree’ for instance. I am an ardent environmentalist, as everybody reading my comments knows, but I nevertheless welcome alternative ideas provided they are without malice. It gives an opportunity to expand a point of view and develop a theme from both sides of the spectrum. It stimulates debate and provokes thought and offers readers a choice. It makes for variety and interest and I hope adds to the quality. The debate ends when it becomes personal and malicious and the thread deteriorates into personalities and cat-calling.

    This definitely puts readers off, and if allowed to continue, loses readership and authority.

    Please Linz, don’t let it happen.

    Raise the standards and keep them high.

    Quality always sells!

    I would invite comments.

    Barnaby Drake

    Posted by Barnaby Drake  on  23/03/12  at  07:37 AM
  78. This was back in 2007 when two foxes had been reported.  There were a number of reports the previous January of London Police being called out to investigate screams being heard, only to discover it was the vixens squalling. If you heard frightening noises in the night, Who would you call?

    Fox screams often wake and scare people, and the have been incidents where the police have been called out by people thinking a person is being hurt! But they are no more than fox conversations. This is usually only problematic for short periods during autumn, when juveniles are dispersing, and in the breeding season, between Christmas and late February.

    http://www.wildlifeambulance.org/advice/foxes.html

    Posted by J A Stevenson  on  23/03/12  at  08:43 AM
  79. Re #75
    If you believe the Fox Task Farce has bought worthless remote cameras, then you have just confirmed another incompetence of theirs and another reason why they should be disbanded. They are an utter and total waste of time and money as proved time and time again.

    Put forward that irrefutable evidence then, puddledog.

    Who cares what the exact numbers of feral cats have been taken by remote cameras? I see them EVERY day where I live and so does just about everyone else as they drive around rural Tasmania.

    And who cares who thinks there are any Tassie Tigers left?

    My girlfriend’s kid just found $1 under the pillow, so there’s more hard evidence that the tooth fairy exists.

    Now prove there aren’t any elephants in Tasmania. I challenge you.

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  23/03/12  at  09:59 AM
  80. Re #77
    I agree with you Barnaby. Get rid of the trolls and leave it informative and factual.

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  23/03/12  at  10:00 AM
  81. #76. Why else would i want information Barnaby?  I just like to see informative stuff. Call it a case of boundless curiosity.
    #79 Buying a bad piece of equipment does not justify the disbanding of a department for incompetence.If that were the case then the Tasmania Police Marine Division is in big trouble eh. As for the rest of your post?? Well i think you should refer to Barnabys #77 and your own at #80.  What colour did the pot call the kettle?

    Posted by puddledog  on  23/03/12  at  06:27 PM
  82. comment deleted - off topic

    Posted by Ian Rist  on  23/03/12  at  07:54 PM
  83. Re #81
    It’s not just one bad piece of equipment or blunder is it? It’s a never-ending string of them.

    Come on, puddledog, prove there aren’t any elephants wandering around Tassie. I say there are for the same reason you unwittingly believe foxes are here. That is, there’s no evidence to say otherwise.

    Posted by Russell Langfield  on  02/04/12  at  11:40 AM

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