Tasmanian Times

David Obendorf

Tasmania is a Very Special Place

Two fox reviews bookend Tasmania’s decade-long war on foxes – Dr Jack Kinnear’s March 2003 report [never publicly released] and Mr Max Kitchell’s March 2013 report [released only after political pressure in September 2013].


The first review, written by a nationally recognised fox ecologist gave DPIPWE a timeline and ground plan, wrote: – [i]’the Fox-Free Taskforce is faced with the difficult tasks of locating foxes, exposing the foxes to poison and confirming that they have killed them. … the time frame for eradication be set at 3 years dating from the beginning of the forthcoming financial year [July 2003]’[/i].

This last review, written by the former PWS Director who was in charge when a live fox jumped ship at Burnie in May 1998 wrote: – [i]’There were a number of assumptions underpinning this recommended approach, the most important of which were:

• access to all identified land for 1080 baiting would be generally available

• any foxes would be able to be located and killed in urban and peri-urban areas

• the program could be completed quickly (in approximately fiveyears or by 2014).

Notwithstanding the best efforts of the FEP staff, it is apparent to the panel that none of these assumptions are currently being met.’[/i]


Kinnear, JE (2003) Eradicating the Fox in Tasmania: A Review of the Fox Free Program
Kitchell, M et al (2013) Fox Eradication Program Review panel report

When common sense and logic from a 2003 reviewer was unable to cut through after 10 years of unproductive and expensive fox hunting, Jack Jolly’s satirical approach on YouTube just might.

[b]Tasmania is a Very Special Place[/b]: The important work of the Tasmanian Fox Eradication Programme
Published on 26 March 2012- Jack Jolly

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


  1. David Obendorf

    November 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I feel for the DPIPWE staff in the fox and devil programs who now being made redundant because of the reputational consequences embedded in these poorly initiated and poorly executed publicly-funded programs. The general public of Tasmania (and perhaps the bean-counters in Canberra) don’t know the half of it!

    It is not the operational staffs’ fault that mismanagement and maladministration of several biodiversity/biosecurity projects within DPIPWE has been on display.

    A thorough [i]Commission of Audit[/i] was needed into DPIPWE’s appropriation and use of Commonwealth funds a long, long time ago.

    Authenticity and effectiveness in the proposals going to Canberra to support the voiceless and unique Tasmanian wildlife was always needed.

  2. David Obendorf

    November 27, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Jack, comment #10 I’m not aware that the ANU was ever an affiliate of the [b]Invasive Animals CRC[/b] or the activities of the Tasmanian Fox Program. O’Brien [comment #6] might have meant the [b]Unversity of Canberra.[/b]

    The University of Canberra most certainly was involved, They received large amounts of public funds that were dedicated to the development of the fox-specific DNA test through [b]Dr Stephen Sarre[/b]’s [i]Institute of Aplied Ecology[/i] (a partner in the IA-CRC). And Professor [b]Deborah Blackwell[/b] in the school of business, government and law at University of Canberra also became involved the life & times of this program.

    A systemic lack on independence of analysis has been a hallmark of this 10-year long, expensive and fox-less eradication program.

  3. David Obendorf

    November 26, 2013 at 10:00 am

    A prophetic fairy-tale comes to mind: Once [i]’the boy cried wolf'[/i] the stakes were really [i]High[/i] … all the locals were put on high alert.

    But how many times would the locals remain fearful and continue to believe the child without a wolf being caught?

    Once? – of course, Yes… Let’s go!

    Twice? – yeah, we [b]must[/b] be close now!

    Thrice? – stay alert, stick with the plan.

    Four times? – yearrr…hhh! I’m with you bro!

    Five times? – where was the wolf seen last?

    Six times? – lots of wolves? Really! How many? That many? Wow.

    Seven timess? – Can we help catch wolves too?

    Eight times? – What do we do now boss?

    Nine times? – Hey boss, someone’s seen a Snark! Does that count?

    Ten times? – Boss… Boss … Boss, are ya still there? Geez, did that wolf eat our boss?

  4. jack Jolly

    November 25, 2013 at 11:23 pm


    ANU or the University of Canberra?

    Given that the scat data is the only thing that has convinced some people, this seems critical. Ministers and all concerned have stated that they have complete confidence in the people engaged in the scat collection. I guess they would not be keen to change their minds even though the data looks very strange indeed.

    If there is some suggestion that key people involved are not of good character, I’d suggest a letter to the federal minister just to put your concerns on the record would be in order.

  5. Basil Fitch

    November 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    If DPIW have excess funds for a beach party for poo hunters I am positive the two major hospitals would be pleased to receive same to cut down on waiting times and ambulance ramping. Get your priorities right guys. Basil

  6. David Obendorf

    November 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    O’Brien [comment #6] if you know something that is in the public interest on the ‘original scat collection data’, [b]Ivan Dean[/b] MLC for Windermere or myself would accept your information and evidences.

    Ph: 03 6234 5561

  7. Penelope Marshall

    November 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm


    This is the version that you want to explain the Foxy logic Dave!

  8. O'Brien

    November 25, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    One thing that would blow this whole amateur fiasco apart is an independent assessment of the original scat collection data. The gang from the CRC at ANU have either deliberately failed to scrutinize the veracity of this data, or been hoodwinked by the cozy snoozers at FFTF.

  9. David Obendorf

    November 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    A longer version that explains the ‘logic’ of the [i]Underpants Gnomes Profit Plan[/i].


  10. David Obendorf

    November 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Ever watched [b]South Park[/b]? … this shite that DPIPWE’s Invasive Species Branch have up on their [i]2014 Great Poo Hunt[/i] reminds me so much of the episode on the Underpants Gnomes Profit Plan.

    [i]”We want volunteers!”[/i]

    [b]Phase 1[/b]: Steal the Underpants

    [b]Phase 3[/b]: Profit

    What happened to [b]Phase 2[/b]? There is no Phase 2, go direct to profit.


    Welcome to Taz-mania’s Great Poo Hunt 2014!

  11. jack

    November 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    #2 What I like about this is the absolute consistent demonstration about the concern for data quality. It is only matched by the level of naivety.

    The fox program has been run on anecdotal, anonymous and always evidence of very questionable quality and authenticity. What better way to cement this trend by asking a group of untrained and unidentifiable persons to contribute more of it? Of course, we will have to forget about the cases of fox hoaxing that are on the record. Everyone in this particular case will be trustworthy and have no agenda. True dinks.

    More to the point, when no key fox DNA evidence is found, the comedians who came up with this ‘science based’ survey method can proclaim the success of the fox eradication program. Hooray!

    Is it just me, or do other Tasmanians feel a bit patronised and insulted to be treated as such fools? Or do we deserve it?

    What next? Free beer and numeracy training for those counting the votes after the Tassie election; who cannot be later identified due to privacy regulations?

  12. Penelope Marshall

    November 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

    With all of this taken into account tell me again why are the folk down at the Invasive species branch advertising online “The Great Poo Hunt of 2014”? Scat survey March- June 2014! Is this anything like the Easter Bunny hunt? Will masses of Tasmanian rug rats be running around the countryside with tin buckets collecting strategically placed poos in shiny wrappers shouting in glee when they find one?
    Ohh hang on minimum age is 16 with a written letter of permission from a parent or guardian. Theres a coup, just noticed overnight accommodation and food will be provided along with sunscreen and bottled water and you must be able to commit to s days hell thats one long East Coast beach party! You will get training provided in GPS use just in case you can’t find your way back to the car, failing that if the hangover is too extreme the Bear Cat will be on standby!

  13. David Obendorf

    November 25, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Testing… Testing… One, Two, Three, Four

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