Tasmanian landholders are being urged to support the fox eradication effort by allowing access to their properties.
Alan Johnston, Branch Manager of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment’s Fox Eradication Program, said today that community-wide support is vital if baiting programs aimed at protecting the state from foxes are to succeed.
“While landowner support in southern Tasmania has so far been very positive, it is essential that the whole community gets behind the effort.
“It is encouraging to see that the communities in the Huon region recognise the real and serious threat foxes pose to our state and that they are getting involved to do something about it,” Mr Johnston said.
Mr Johnston said that the Program currently had permission to access around eighty percent of land in the 1500 sq km target property area.
“We emphasise that access to all land containing core fox habitat is essential to run effective fox baiting programs.
“Holes in our baiting programs because we haven’t received property access permission reduce the likelihood that we will be exposing all foxes in an area to fox baits.”
Physical evidence and sighting reports indicate fox activity in a number of locations in southern Tasmania; with fox-positive scats being collected near Geeveston, Cygnet, Bushy Park, Campania and Murdunna in 2009.
“We are still waiting to receive responses from about seventy landowners in the target baiting area in the Huon region,” Mr Johnston said.
The Fox Eradication Program has been endeavouring to follow up with landowners who have not responded to requests for access permission via letters, phone calls and, as a last resort, through doorknocking by staff.
“It really is vital that landowners help us to do our job and join the fox eradication effort by providing access to their properties,” Mr Johnston said.
“It certainly assists us greatly if people promptly return signed access licences.
“In the future, we will be seeking permission to access additional properties throughout Tasmania, as we continue our strategic baiting program across the state’s identified core fox habitat.”
It is planned that laying of fox baits will commence in the Southport area in May. Baiting will then progress northwards in areas of core fox habitat up to Huonville. Fox baits are laid on properties for up to 28 days and are then retrieved. All properties being baited are clearly identified with signs and all neighbouring properties are notified.
For further information about the fox baiting program contact (03) 6336 5256 or visit the DPIPWE website at www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/fox.
This project is jointly funded by the Tasmanian Government and the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country.
Alan Johnston, Branch Manager Fox Eradication Program Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment