Tasmanian Times

Economy

Community-Wide Support Needed In Fox Eradication Effort

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

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Kate

    May 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm

  2. Ian Rist

    May 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I agree with you totally Jim…getting people that actually do know what they are doing would be a start, spending most of your time in the office watching stuff on your PC or playing footy and then going up the bush for a barby isn’t really the daily routine of dedicated fox hunters.
    Over a period of some seven years I shot a total of 312 feral cats on one large property alone in the North East of Tasmanian, I guess I can say I have done my bit for the small bird and animal population. Dr Graham Hall from the DPIWE took a great interest in this cat reduction and noted we had all sorts of little birds coming back such as Beautiful Firetails, many of the low heath dwelling Honeyeaters like spinebills and New Hollands (I like the New Hollands- probably the best alarm system in the bush).
    I must admit the Brown Quail population just exploded as I would not allow a cat near them.
    In the early days several of us professionals offered our services for free but we told we weren’t required…it was a bit like an old boys club.
    If foxes do become established here you can thank the clowns that have been in charge for the last nine-ten years.
    Dr Clive Marks (DOC) told me when this all started that if we haven’t eradicated any foxes that might be here within 3 years it will be all over… I rest my case.

  3. Jim Nelson

    May 1, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Re: Paulie
    A good start would seem to me to have well trained fox dogs matched to good marksmen who spend almost all their time in the field rather than in the office or travelling around chasing “sightings”, or having meetings or laying baits. The task force seems to have built up to a nice little bureaucracy that exists for itself rather than accomplishing the main task of eliminating foxes. The people I have known within the task force even think it is a joke – that’s how bad it is!

    Jim Nelson

  4. Ian Rist

    May 1, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I was once given the job of removing a couple of 3rd -4th generation wild dogs that were absolutely terrorising Ted Archer’s sheep up at West Takone, Ted offered a reward of $500 per dog if they could be shot. That was a fair bit of money thirty years ago.
    Ted had tried everything known to man to eliminate the two dogs, lines of shooters and even sleeping on the bedding paddocks of a night trying to ambush them…all they were doing was educating the dogs.
    For three months I used to be dropped off a couple of kilometres from the killing fields and I actually thought for a while I was hunting ghosts, you would find freshly killed sheep with the dew disturbed where the dog had laid beside the carcass…but no dogs.
    The dogs were so cunning all they had to hear was a plover pass wind and they would be off. Finally I said this is madness chasing them, I am going to wait and let them come to me and within two weeks I had shot them both at daylight.
    Ted was so pleased he drove up from Bothwell with his cheque book.
    The moral of this story is if they are there (foxes,smart dogs, cunning old stags) they can be shot…but I am pretty well convinced you can’t shoot what isn’t there.
    $5,000.00 is sitting there for anyone that can prove otherwise.
    Now I am not saying Jim or anyone else didn’t see a fox, they as individuals are entitled to their opinion and their belief… what I am saying is that if they are picking up scats in the numbers claimed along with 2,500 “sightings” plus “road kills” we would be all shooting foxes in our back paddocks. We aren’t and there is the problem…too much “fox evidence” and no “fox”.
    You cannot have it both ways………………

  5. Jim Nelson

    April 30, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Ian, I have never seen a Thylacine, and I have no good reason to think they still exist, as much as I would wish them to still exist. I HAVE seen a fox in Tassie, which I certainly do NOT want to exist here. Until I saw the animal I was still something of a sceptic, but seeing is definitely believing. You have expressed the belief that I probably did not see a fox. I know for certain that I did, and that is enough substantiation for me!

    Now I emphatically want them GONE from here. That looks to be a difficult job, and one that needs knowledge, cunning and good planning. Hopefully they are here in small numbers, but they are therefore going to be very difficult to find and eliminate.

    The proposed baiting program should not be supported by the community. The most likely result of the baiting is that it will kill numerous animals, none of which will be foxes. Why would anyone assume foxes would take these baits in preference to catching live prey, when that live prey is so plentiful here?

    If landowners want to join the fox eradication effort, they should call on the Minister to hold an urgent review of the Taskforce instead of allowing this dangerous baiting on their land.

    Jim Nelson

  6. Ian Rist

    April 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Jim I agree with you that the baiting is a waste of time…even if there were any foxes in Tasmania in very small numbers (as claimed) the chances of a fox being interested in Foxoff over all the other little live furries is pure fantasy and just an excuse to keep using 1080 as well as huge profits for the bait company laughing all the way to the bank.
    In trials at Werribee in Victoria Foxoff was proven to be the least preferred of all the baits tested (reference CSIRO field research number 27).
    What worries me is how many native carnivores and omnivores are being poisoned. Not to mention the ever increasing number of farm dogs I am being contacted about.
    We have 10,300 spotlight crop control permits in force- no fox.
    There has been 10 deer seasons since all this nonsense started @ approx. 4,500 armed (licenced) deer shooters per season roaming around in prime fox habitat – no fox.
    Professional shooters shooting for forestry companies and landowners…some out almost all night, every night – no fox.
    Tasmania has approx. 45,000 licenced firearm owners and a lot of them know about our five thousand dollar reward – no fox.
    Easily transported fox items are one thing…producing a Tasmanian fox is another.
    I say again, just because you find a planted/hoaxed fox carcass on the side of a Tasmanian road or a fox turd in a Tasmanian paddock doesn’t mean we have foxes. It simply means you have a fox carcass and a fox turd.
    Simply that…nothing more and nothing less.
    Unless you have hard evidence in tangible form a “fox” sighting is unsubstantiated…remember there has been 4,500 Thylacine sightings since 1936 and still no Thylacine.

  7. Jim Nelson

    April 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    It appears that the least likely result of this baiting with 1080 will be the killing of foxes. The proposed baiting program is apparently based on a NZ model of baiting a few small islands where the baits were unlikely to impact on important native species (mainly birds). This is in no way relevant to the fox issue in Tasmania. The likelihood of foxes taking these baits is probably small, while the potential for “collateral damage” is high.

    I believe there is good anecdotal evidence that foxes are present here, and this represents a potential environmental disaster for the state. It is well past time that a REAL review of the fox taskforce is carried out. We cannot take the risk of foxes gaining a stronghold here, but we must find effective answers to the problem.

    Jim Nelson, President Central North Field Naturalists

  8. Ian Rist

    April 28, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Totally unbiased information from “The Veterinarian”.
    No wonder farmers don’t want fox baiting on their lands.

    http://www.theveterinarian.com.au/features/article685.asp

  9. Ian Rist

    April 28, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Now I know why the northern paper wouldn’t run the story of Sammy Watts dog being poisoned and all the other dog owners who answered Sammy’s ad that have had their own dogs poisoned from fox baits.
    No wonder land owners don’t want these people fox baiting with 1080 anywhere near their properties…if in doubt ask Phil down at Fairfield and Somerset at Epping.

  10. Ian Rist

    April 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    What foxes?
    Bloody hell…how long do these people think they can get away with this.
    All we have left is “prime fox habitat” most of it on public land and in forestry coupes.
    The hard cold facts are in nine years these people have not recovered or photographed a single Tasmanian fox of their own.
    We have had successive Labor ministers too scared or too cunning to let it go just in case a fox does turn up…besides it’s only taxpayers money!
    Look at the last climate change debacle concerning public servants……………

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