Tasmanian Times

David Obendorf

Basil and the fox

David Obendorf

The preliminary findings of the post mortem examination should be able to determine the time of death, the likely cause of death and the age of the animal. If it is confirmed to be a very recently killed fox then maybe it’s a job for fox-sniffer dog.

ACCORDING to farmer hand; nick-named by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation — Basil — it was he who found the ‘still warm’ fox on Glen Esk Road in Conara at approximately 10.15 am yesterday morning.

Wishing to remain anonymous, he later rang the ABC Launceston studios and did an interview with an ABC reporter.

Basil says he pulled up his vehicle and found a dead fox that was ‘as good as new’, ‘looked like it had been whacked in the last hour or so’, ‘still warm …’, and ‘rigor mortis hadn’t set in’. Basil found the fox ‘laying on the bitumen’ and thought it had been ‘hit in the hindquarters’.

He thought it was hit that morning — perhaps by those ‘terrorists from the mainland’ using this back road from Launceston Airport. The ABC reporter asked, did he mean tourists?; Basil laughed and suggested that’s ‘what we call em’.

Basil told ABC radio he didn’t stay until the Fox Taskforce came; he had work to do. But he and his ‘mate’ were later passing the area and were stopped. Basil told FFTF officers that they had put in the call.

‘The codgers thought that we put it there!’

The fox, described as an adult male, was taken to Mt Pleasant Laboratories for ‘scientific tests’ and ‘forensic examinations’.

The FFTF is appealing for the person who might have run over the fox to please come forward.

The preliminary findings of the post mortem examination should be able to determine the time of death, the likely cause of death and the age of the animal. If it is confirmed to be a very recently killed fox then maybe it’s a job for fox-sniffer dog.

Forensics including DNA testing to determine relationships to known fox sub-populations on the mainland, particularly in Victoria and investigation of the food in its gut might take a little longer.

In 2003, a wildlife consultant, Steve Cronin reported seeing a fox on a property close to this location.

David Obendorf

What Nick Mooney said earlier on Tasmanian Times

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Ian Rist

    October 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    How do you feel now ‘rat’ # 2 and Geoff # 5 …?
    It would appear your still warm fox wasn’t so warm after all!
    Old saying in life my dear boys – “he who laughs last laughs longest”.
    Some people just don’t know when they are being suckered.

  2. ian rist

    September 23, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    My Goodness hasn’t this got untidy; how on earth will the DPIW boys explain this mess? It seems now the person nominated as the “fox kill driver” was actually present at the roadside interviews along with his three other workmates who “found” the fox. However he was not officially nominated until three days later, and the fox running out from the left to the right side of the road – bullscat.

  3. David Obendorf

    August 3, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    The Government has issued the following media release late Thursday.

    Driver Who Hit Fox Identifies Himself

    A member of the public has identified himself as the driver who hit the fox on Glen Esk Rd Tuesday morning.

    The Manager of Wildlife Management for the Department of Primary Industries and Water, Gary Davies, thanked the man for responding to the appeal to come forward.

    “The man was the driver of the vehicle, and his activity is known to have put him in the area at the time,” Mr Davies said.

    The report fixes the time of the incident very close to 9.30am.

    Mr Davies said that the driver has insisted we do not publicly identify him because he does not wish to become the subject of public speculation.

    “DPIW will respect his confidentiality. Should he choose to inform others at some stage in the future then that’s his right,” Mr Davies said.

    “He was driving east on the Glen Esk Road. The fox emerged from the left-hand side of the road, ran across the path of the vehicle and was struck by a tyre.”

    “He stopped to find out what he had hit and saw that it was a fox. He then continued on his way because he did not want to be associated with any ridicule or cynicism which is put about in some quarters on fox reports.”

    Mr Davies said DPIW appreciated the fact that he had decided to come forward and identify himself to the Taskforce.

  4. Wes Young

    August 3, 2006 at 9:35 am

    I don’t know about anybody else here but instead of giving more money to the fox taskforce the government could finance a few more hoons to drive on our country roads.

    They seem to have more luck killing foxes than the rest of us.

    Just a thought…

  5. David Obendorf

    August 3, 2006 at 2:26 am

    Maybe the fox sniffer dog is on leave or retired but it didn’t seem to be part of the follow up at the Conara Fox Incident scene yesterday or on the afternoon of day 1.

    We must remember that Mt Pleasant pathologists are not forensic pathologists; they are trained in diagnostic disease investigations – i.e. predoimnantly infectious disease diagnosis. So determining time of death is not a regular or precise science for them.

    Secondly digital photography of both field and forensic evidence should be now mandatory to record images all aspects of the event. It is sometimes the ONLY true record. Managing all the evidence from this incident and its security will be important here also.

    Obviously prompt collection of corroborative evidence from the scene of a fox incident is – I believe – essential to build confidence in the scenario – AS IT IS BEING PROJECTED or PORTRAYED – by the primary sources, farmers Michael Beams and Jason Powe.

    With the benefit of hindsight, to be sceptical over what is being offered up by (1) primary sources,(2) the on-site scenario, (3) any pre-existing issues and the (4) physical evidence is paramount in building morale & confidence of the FFTF and MOST IMPORTANTLY that of the ordinary Tasmanian.

    Fox incident “HOTSPOTS” are a little like exploding land mines or flash points of suddenness – and without being blinded or shell-shocked by the horror or the intensity; one needs to continually clarify the situation…even little events or statements need to be given fair consideration.

    Rushing to judgment is a tendency that needs to be tempered until ALL the evidence truly stacks up.

  6. ian rist

    August 2, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    Geoff, rat and others, I have never denied the possibility of foxes entering the state thru’ interstate shipping. What I have always objected to are the lies that were told about importation and release.

    Anyway it not the end of the world yet, a large percentage of the population actually couldn’t give a stuff if foxes are here or not. Only a small percentage of dedicated conservationists really care and some of them have been oblivious to the feral cat menace that has been chewing it’s way thru’ wildlife populations for years.

    Foxes are perceived some what differently by farmers etc. and represent a dollar loss in lambs and other small stock, however, this loss is often grossly exaggerated.

    Early settlers blamed the thylacine for everything and it was hounded to extinction by bounties and myth, maybe the fox is just another scapegoat.

    Toxoplamosis spread by the definitive host, cats, seems to receive very little attention despite the fact that it is responsible for “abortion storm” in ewes and has decimated flocks in many areas.

  7. Dr Kevin Bonham

    August 2, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    There is now much talk about whether or not the Fox Free Task Force is adequately funded. However in such discussions, one has to prepare for the possibility of failure as well as success. We have to recognise that no matter how much money is thrown at the problem, eradication of widespread feral pests from sizeable land (or water) masses is far from easy to acheive. By far the cheapest and most effective way to contain a feral pest is to not let it get loose in the first place.

    With evidence building that the things are clearly here, it is time for the relevant authorities to get serious about the threat foxes pose to susceptible Tasmanian mammal species. Risk assessment should be carried out and viable populations of susceptible species should be established within foxproofed reserves or captivity (I suspect that the latter is cheaper), starting immediately if this has not already commenced. What is going on in this direction?

    Generally I am reluctant to publicly advocate new funding avenues for vertebrate research, given that invertebrates are extremely underfunded by comparison. However this is one case where I would like to see what contingency planning is being considered.

  8. Geoff Rollins

    August 2, 2006 at 3:42 pm

    Rat is absolutely right. Give up Ian whilst you still look relatively sane. It’s hard to deny this one.

  9. Bertie the Frog

    August 2, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    Please don’t tell me that it goes like this…person finds dead fox…government gives millions of dollars to various people who use it to look for more foxes so that they get more money and…?

    How dumb are we?

  10. ian rist

    August 2, 2006 at 10:59 am

    Well rat are you saying we are f*#^d then? We all better get out and shoot a few before doomsday.
    Time will tell mate.

  11. rat

    August 2, 2006 at 7:28 am

    Ian, you need to know when to give up mate.

  12. ian rist

    August 1, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    So another dead fox found on the side of the road, what does this prove other than that is exactly what it is (a dead fox on the side of a road) Every effort should now be made to find out where it came from and how it got there.

    On a recent trip to the mainland driving through Victoria and N.S.W. I counted no less than nine dead foxes on the side of the road, any of them could have been picked up and brought to Tasmania easily and hoaxed.

To Top