Category Archives: Fox – Red fox; fox; European fox

TrappingDVD

Trapping Introduced Predators for the Protection of Biodiversity and Livestock: an instructional DVD

Lead researcher: Greg Mifsud, National Wild Dog Facilitator, Invasive Animals CRC, greg.mifsud@invasiveanimals.com

Project objectives:

To develop and produce an instructional DVD to be implemented nationally that will assist stakeholders to become competent and more confident in the use of nationally approved trapping devices for the control of introduced predators primarily the Wild Dog (Canis familiaris), the European Red Fox (red fox)(Vulpes vulpes) and the feral cat (Felis catus).

The DVD produced is intended to be a resource tool that compliments existing extension material which can be disseminated amongst the community via training days conducted by NRM groups, government agencies and industry groups across Australia. The development of this instructional DVD will provide stakeholders with additional skills to control these damaging species as part of an integrated control program utilizing a variety of control techniques in accordance with the National Codes of Practice and Standard Operating Procedures.

Video clips from this DVD can be viewed at the PestSmart YouTube Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/PestSmart

This project was funded under the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP).
For more APARP projects, visit: www.pestsmart.org.au/australian-pest-animal-research-program/

Reference type Project
Author Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP)
Secondary Author Greg Mifsud
Year 2011
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Control method Trapping
Region Australia - national
Links

PestSmart DVD: Introduction to using foot hold traps for the capture of wild dogs and foxes

TessGrieves_Fox

Demonstrating the potential resilience of fox populations to coordinated landholder baiting programs for agricultural protection

Lead researcher: Andrew Bengsen, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, andrew.bengsen@industry.nsw.gov.au

The main goal of this project was to evaluate and demonstrate the ability of conventional baiting practices to suppress fox populations. This was to be achieved through the following objectives:

  1. Estimate changes in fox population densities in response to coordinated baiting programs.
  2. Estimate the extent to which individual foxes within populations are exposed to baiting.
  3. Communicate results and implications to public and private land managers through extension networks of partner agencies, as well as scientific and management fora.

The following publication resulted from this work:

Bengsen, A. (2014) Effects of coordinated poison-baiting programs on survival and abundance in two red fox populations. Wildlife Research 41 (3), 194-202, available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR13202

This project was funded under the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP).
For more APARP projects, visit: www.pestsmart.org.au/australian-pest-animal-research-program/

Secondary title APARP Report
Reference type Report
Author Andrew Bengsen
Date 30/06/2013
Year 2013
Publisher NSW Department of Primary Industries
Pages 28
Control method Baiting
Region NSW
Documents

Demonstrating the potential resilience of fox populations to coordinated landholder baiting programs for agricultural protection [ 790kb PDF ]

Links

 Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP)

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New Technology for Management of Fox Impacts on Agriculture

Lead researcher: Dr David Dall, Pestat Pty Ltd, david.dall@pestat.com.au

The most common control measures for foxes involve the use of poison baits containing sodium fluoroacetate (1080). The humaneness of 1080 is controversial with respect to its use in the control of carnivores.

The key objective of the project was to demonstrate the field effectiveness of a new method for the management of fox impacts on agriculture. This comprises of a combination of two technologies not previously used including:

  1. A delivery device known as a ‘mechanical ejector’, and
  2. A new selective poison known by the acronym ‘PAPP’ (para-aminopropiophenone), provided as a rapid-acting formulation.

This project was funded under the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP).
For more APARP projects, visit: www.pestsmart.org.au/australian-pest-animal-research-program/

Secondary title APARP Report
Reference type Report
Author Rob Hunt, Ricky Spencer, Karen Harland, David Dall, Sally Campbell
Year 2009
Publisher Pestat Pty Ltd
Pages 15
ISBN/ISSN APAMP Project GMS 0090
Documents

New Technology for Management of Fox Impacts on Agriculture [ 330kb PDF ]

Links

 Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP)

Malleefowl_mound

Mallee Recovery project

Pictured: Malleefowl on a nesting mound in the study area. Credit: Jason Wishart

Pest management for conservation of endangered Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) populations near Mt Hope, New South Wales

foxes Project description:
Mallee Recovery is an Invasive Animals Ltd led Biodiversity fund project that aims to reduce the impacts of invasive species on endangered malleefowl populations near Mount Hope, New South Wales.  The project builds directly on early work undertaken by the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (now Western local Lands Services) and links with predator management being undertaken on adjoining nature reserves.

Mallee Recovery initially focused on several core properties, where the largest tracts of remnant mallee habitat existed. We have now attracted the involvement of all surrounding landholders, which has increased the predator control area to over 500,000 hectares. This essentially provides a buffer around the core mallee habitat, and offers even greater benefits to the areas biodiversity and agriculture.

Twaterpoint_traphe project also enables us to use newly developed pest control products such as the HOGHOPPER®, and provides an ideal testing ground for emerging innovations including sodium nitrite feral pig baits and multi-purpose water-point traps for feral pigs and feral goats.

Aerial surveys have revealed over 50 active Malleefowl mounds in the project area and we hope that future aerial surveys will show a stable or increasing breeding population, particularly with the considerable effort that has gone into broad-scale pest control.
Our biggest challenge now is securing ongoing funding, so the benefits of everyone’s hard work can be realised and we can see recovery of malleefowl in the area.

Watch:
Project Officer, Jason Wishart talks about this important project that also involves local landholders. (Video production by DigitalFarmTV).

Project team:
Jason Wishart, Stuart Brown, Simon Humphrys, Paul Meek, David Creeper, Robynne Wells-Budd, Milton Lewis, Michelle Hines, Marc Irvin, Laura Douglas, Jessica Marsh and many private landholders.

Project partners:
Invasive Animals Ltd, Western Local Lands Services, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Office of Environment and Heritage.

Contact:
Jason Wishart
Invasive Animals Ltd
Phone: 0409 385 461
Email: jason.wishart@invasiveanimals.com

Reference type Fact Sheet
Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2015
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 1
Region NSW
Documents

Mallee Recovery Project [ 235kb PDF ]

Links

More about this project:
www.invasiveanimals.com/research/phase2/commercialisation/mallee-recovery/

Intraguild relationships between sympatric predators exposed to lethal control: predator manipulation experiments

 

Introduction

Terrestrial top-predators are expected to regulate and stabilise food webs through their consumptive and non-consumptive effects on sympatric mesopredators and prey. The lethal control of top-predators has therefore been predicted to inhibit top-predator function, generate the release of mesopredators and indirectly harm native fauna through trophic cascade effects. Understanding the outcomes of lethal control on interactions within terrestrial predator guilds is important for zoologists, conservation biologists and wildlife managers. However, few studies have the capacity to test these predictions experimentally, and no such studies have previously been conducted on the eclectic suite of native and exotic, mammalian and reptilian taxa we simultaneously assess. We conducted a series of landscape-scale, multi-year, manipulative experiments at nine sites spanning five ecosystem types across the Australian continental rangelands to investigate the responses of mesopredators (red foxes, feral cats and goannas) to contemporary poison-baiting programs intended to control top-predators (dingoes) for livestock protection.

Result: Short-term behavioural releases of mesopredators were not apparent, and in almost all cases, the three mesopredators we assessed were in similar or greater abundance in unbaited areas relative to baited areas, with mesopredator abundance trends typically either uncorrelated or positively correlated with top-predator abundance trends over time. The exotic mammals and native reptile we assessed responded similarly (poorly) to top-predator population manipulation. This is because poison baits were taken by multiple target and non-target predators and top-predator populations quickly recovered to pre-control levels, thus reducing the overall impact of baiting on top-predators and averting a trophic cascade.

Conclusions

These results are in accord with other predator manipulation experiments conducted worldwide, and suggest that Australian populations of native prey fauna at lower trophic levels are unlikely to be negatively affected by contemporary dingo control practices through the release of mesopredators. We conclude that contemporary lethal control practices used on some top-predator populations do not produce the conditions required to generate positive responses from mesopredators. Functional relationships between sympatric terrestrial predators may not be altered by exposure to spatially and temporally sporadic application of non-selective lethal control.

Reference type Journal Article
Secondary title Frontiers in Zoology
Author Benjamin L Allen, Lee R Allen, Richard M Engeman and Luke K-P Leung
Year 2013
Volume 10
Number 39
ISBN/ISSN doi:10.1186/1742-9994-10-39
Control method Baiting
Links http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1742-9994-10-39

Trophic Responses to Lethal Control of Placental Predators in Australia

The effects of lethal control of predators, particularly dingoes and other wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo, C. l. familiaris and C. l. dingo X C. l. familiaris) in Australia, is subject to much controversy and recent debate among ecologists. To devise a
framework for understanding and researching predator and prey interactions in response to management of predators, a group of ecologists at the forefront of publication, debate and current research were invited to participate in an expert
workshop. The workshop was to pay particular consideration to the expected responses of predators and prey following lethal control of predators, such as wild dogs, European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and feral cats (Felis catus), at World Heritage sites.

A group of experts were invited to participate in a facilitated discussion of predator and prey responses to lethal control of wild dogs, foxes and feral cats. This workshop differed from previous ones about dingoes, biodiversity and required research held in Australia during the last 10years in that it concentrated on determining the expected trophic responses to lethal predator control. Invitees were selected primarily on the basis of their active involvement in research dealing with predator and/or prey ecology and secondarily to provide a breadth of experience across a range of WHAs and similar ecosystems.

Participants and observers were given the opportunity to review these proceedings but the editors take final  responsibility for the content.

Secondary title Trophic Responses to Lethal Control of Placental Predators in Australia: Expert Workshop
Reference type Conference or workshop proceedings
Author Guy Ballard and Peter J.S. Fleming (Eds)
Date 19/10/2012
Year 2013
Place published Sydney
Institution Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, Biosecurity NSW
Department NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange
Region Australia - national
Documents Trophic Responses to Lethal Control of Placental Predators in Australia [ 630kb PDF ]
FoxGBG_cover

Glovebox Guide for Managing Foxes

FoxGBG_coverThis glovebox guide is part of the PestSmart Toolkit for Foxes, produced by the Invasive Animals CRC. It is designed to provide current information on best practice fox management for land managers, pest animal officers and others involved in the management of foxes.

This includes general information on:

  • developing a fox management plan
  • integrated approaches
  • identifying fox impacts
  • management strategies & techniques

The advice provided in this publication is intended as a source of information only. Always read the label before using any  of the products mentioned. It is important that the information provided is adapted by each individual in accordance with their own environmental, financial and social circumstances.

Reference type Generic
Author Lynette McLeod
Year 213
Place published Canberra
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 24
ISBN/ISSN ISBN: 978-1-921777-62-2
Control method Integrated Pest Management
Region Australia - national
Links

PestSmart toolkit: Foxes

Documents

Download - PestSmart: Glovebox Guide for Managing Foxes [ 1.5 Mb PDF ]

baitpic_web

Baiting for fox control

Introduction:
 
baitpic_webPoison baiting is currently the most effective broad-scale method of fox control. Toxins used against foxes in Australia must be registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Baits can only be obtained through licensed officers or designated government agencies in each state and territory, and  there are strict guidelines relating to the use and placement of baits.  Some states require specific chemical training to have been completed, so it is advisable to check specific requirements with  your local agency.
 
Ground baiting is the main technique used. This involves burying  baits along tracks, fence lines and other areas where foxes are  known to travel. In remote, sparsely populated areas, government  agencies are permitted to use aerial application of baits.
 
How specific are baits for foxes?
 
Baits target foxes over other species in three ways:
  • through the toxin
  • through the bait substrate
  • by bait presentation
Foxes are particularly sensitive to 1080 (sodium mono-fluoroacetate), the most commonly used toxin, and the newly  developed PAPP (para-aminopropiophenone, not commercially  available at time of printing). This allows a low dose rate to be used  for these baits, making them more specific for foxes and less harmful  to non-target species. Red meat, chicken and commercially  developed baits, such as Foxoff® (Animal Control Technologies), De-Fox™ (Paks National Pty Ltd) and Pro-bait (Western Australia Department of Environment and Conservation), are sometimes preferred because of their palatability to foxes and relatively high target specificity. The practice of burying baits also helps target  foxes: the fox readily digs and consumes buried food items, but few  native animals are inclined to excavate and eat buried baits.
 
When is the best time to bait? The most effective time to bait is usually during late winter and spring when fox populations are at their lowest. This is generally just before breeding and is directly followed by a time of high food demand, when the young cubs are being reared. At other times, especially in autumn, foxes are more mobile and tend to re-establish quickly into vacant territories. Baiting may need to be repeated more often at these times to achieve effective results.
 
How often should I bait? Baiting programs have been shown to be most effective when done twice a year. This causes maximum disruption to both the breeding (late winter/spring) and migration (autumn) stages of the fox’s life cycle.
 
How should the baiting be done? For maximum success, baits should be available to foxes for at least ten days. They should be checked at least every two days, and replaced until no more are being taken. Baits shouldbe placed at strategic points along tracks and fence lines where foxes regularly travel, or near carcasses or
other attractants, allowing for distance restrictions from residences and boundaries.
 
Baits should be buried 5—10 cm deep or tethered (in Queensland and Western Australia only), at 200-500 m intervals, with a total of about five baits laid for each square kilometre. The positions of baits should be marked with tape or pegs so they can be easily checked later. Lures and scents can be used to attract the foxes, although continuous scent trails should be avoided.
 
Is baiting with a group worthwhile? Yes. Group baiting programs, involving cooperation among neighbouring landholders and the community, can both lower the costs of baiting and help reduce the level and speed of fox reinvasion.
 
How much does a baiting program cost? The cost of a program will vary depending on the size of the property, the number of foxes, and the number of neighbours participating. Costs generally range from $0.40 to $1.00 per hectare. Your local agency should be able to provide advice on the most cost-effective way to bait foxes in your area.
 
How do I know if the baiting has worked? Dead foxes are seldom found after a baiting program, giving the false impression that the program was not effective. If correct baiting procedures are followed, the number of baits taken can give an indication of the number of foxes killed. Fox population monitoring techniques (eg remote sensing cameras, sand pads, spotlight counts) can be used, monitoring changes in the population of prey species (eg wildlife, lambs) will give a better indication of the program’s success.
 
Foxes are known to store their food for later. Will this affect my baiting program? Foxes are known to cache surplus food to secure a meal when food is scarce. This behaviour can have a major effect on the effectiveness of a baiting program by decreasing the number of available baits. This behaviour also increases the poisoning risk to non-target species, since the location of baits becomes unknown after they are moved by foxes. The best way to deal with this problem is to take note of multiple bait takes in one location and, if caching is suspected, stop replacing the baits in that spot.
 
FXFS8 1080 sign
 
Are fox baits safe for the environment? Both 1080 and PAPP are considered environmentally safe, as they break down relatively quickly, and are neither mobile nor persistent in the soil.
 
Does fox baiting pose a risk to native animals? Following best practice baiting methods is important to maximise the effectiveness of any baiting program and minimise the risk posed to non-target animals, regardless of which type of bait is used. Burying the baits helps eliminate the risk to most non-target species, including birds. Baits should not be laid in areas where native predators, such as goannas and quolls, are known to be active. If in doubt, the area  should be monitored before baiting, using non-toxic baits and sand
pads or remote sensing cameras.
 
Why do I need to collect uneaten baits at the end my program? Baits and toxins decay over time so the potential exists for foxes to consume sub-lethal doses. Bait aversion results when a sub-lethal dose of toxin is consumed, making the fox ill instead of killing it.  Removing all uneaten baits at the end of a program is important to reduce the risk of bait aversion as well as to prevent poisoning of non-target species.
 
How can I protect my pets? The best way to protect pets is to make sure they do not have access to areas where baits are stored or laid.  Domestic dogs are just as susceptible to baits as foxes, so they need to be restrained both during a baiting program and in the weeks directly following it.
 
Further information:
 
Invasive Animals Ltd has taken care to validate the accuracy of the information at the date of publication [June 2013]. This information has been prepared with care but it is provided “as is”, without  warranty of any kind, to the extent permitted by law.
 
FXFS8 QR code
 
 
 
 
Reference type Fact Sheet
Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2013
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXFS8
Control method Baiting
Region Australia - national
Links

PestSmart toolkit: Foxes

Documents

PestSmart Factsheet: Baiting for fox control  [  480kb PDF  ]

PestSmart_logo

GEN003: Trapping using soft net traps

Soft net traps consist of a flexible metal frame and netting and/or bag which collapses over the animal when triggered. Soft net traps rely on entanglement to secure and hold the targeted animal, potentially reducing the risk of injury. Soft net traps are used to trap feral and nuisance domestic cats and dogs, foxes, birds and rabbits as well as native animals such as small wallabies, bandicoots and possums. Although soft net trapping is considered an ineffective tool for control of large populations, it may be useful in urban/residential or where numbers have already been reduced and individual animals need to be targeted.

This standard operating procedure (SOP) is a guide only; it does not replace or override the legislation that applies in the relevant state or territory jurisdiction. The SOP should only be used subject to the applicable legal requirements (including OH&S) operating in the relevant jurisdiction. Please note that this is a generic guideline for the use of soft net traps, further detailed information on specific species can be found in the relevant SOPs on trapping.

Reference type Policy Document
Author Sharp, T. and McLeod, L.
Year 2013
Publisher Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Institution Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 4
Notes GEN003
Control method Trapping
Region Australia - national
Links

http://www.pestsmart.org.au/animal-welfare/humane-codes/

Documents

GEN003: Trapping using soft net traps  [ 460kb PDF ]

fox-placeholder

Northern Sydney regional fox baiting program

The northern Sydney region features a substantial area of interconnecting bushland reserves and parks, which host a diverse range of native animal species and an increasing population of pest animals. Fauna surveys done in the area suggest that predation by foxes is a major cause of the decline in some species of native animals. Fox control programs using box traps have been attempted in the past but have been limited in their success. Shooting and baiting with 1080 were not able to be done as they posed safety risks to the general public and pets, and their application was restricted.

Case study on a cooperative fox control program conducted across urban areas in New South Wales. Produced by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre as part of the PestSmart series.

Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXCS7
Control method 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate)
Region NSW
Documents

PestSmart Case Study: Northern Sydney regional fox baiting program  [270kb PDF]

Links

PestSmart toolkit: Foxes

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Goonoo fox baiting program

This program is part of an integrated approach to pest animal control centred on the Goonoo National Park and Goonoo State Conservation Area (SCA) (formerly Goonoo State Forest, total area 63,000 ha), situated 35 km northeast of Dubbo in central western New South Wales. The Goonoo forest contains representative species of the Pilliga woodland, such as narrow-leafed ironbark, white and black cypress and mallee. The surrounding area is privately owned agricultural land, supporting a mixture of grazing and cropping enterprises. There are also a number of smaller nature reserves and state  forests in the vicinity (eg Coolbaggie Nature Reserve and Lincoln State Forest).

Case study on the effectiveness of a group fox baiting program on land surrounding the Goonoo State Conservation Area of New South Wales. Produced by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre as part of the PestSmart series.

Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 4
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXCS6
Control method 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate)
Region NSW
Documents

PestSmart Case Study: Goonoo fox baiting program  [450 kb PDF]

Links

PestSmart toolkit: Foxes

fox2

Fox legislation in Australia

Current fox management strategies and techniques are governed or affected by various Commonwealth, state and territory laws.
 
Fox predation as a key threatening process
 
The Australian Government (under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) and some state governments (New South Wales, Victoria) have proclaimed fox predation as a key threatening process. This has implications for the Commonwealth and relevant state conservation agencies that must each prepare and implement a fox threat abatement plan (TAP) across their jurisdiction. The proclamation does not affect the legal obligations of private landholders.
 
“There are problems associated with the legal declaration of foxes as pest animals if it is not enforced”
 
Fox management legislation
 
Fox management on private and public lands other than those controlled by conservation agencies are governed by various
state and territory legislation, listed below.
 
Australian Capital Territory: Foxes are a declared pest under the Pest Plant and Animal Act 2005and must be managed according to a developed pest management  plan. It is an offence to keep, supply or release foxes.
 
FXFS5 fox
 
New South Wales: As foxes are not a declared pest under the Rural Lands Protection Act 1998, there is no legal obligation for land managers to control them. Foxes may be kept in captivity, but it is an offence under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 to release them. Foxes are listed as a game animal under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 and regulated hunting of foxes is permitted on some
public lands.
 
Northern Territory: Foxes are a declared feral animal under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1998, but they need only be controlled in declared pest control areas. No areas are currently declared. It is an offence to release foxes.
 
Queensland: Foxes are a declared pest under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002. Land managers must take reasonable steps to keep their land free of foxes. It is an offence to feed, keep, introduce, release or supply foxes without a declared pest permit.
 
South Australia: Under the Natural Resources Management Act 2004, foxes are a declared animal and must remain controlled on all lands. It is an offence to keep, move, sell or release foxes.
 
FXFS5 FOX 2
 
Tasmania: Foxes are declared vermin under the Vermin Control Act 2000 and restricted animals under the Nature Conservation Act 2002. Landholders may be required to ‘suppress and destroy’ any fox found on their property. It is an offence to import, keep, carry or release foxes. The Animal Health Act 1995 restricts the importation of fox carcasses, faeces, salted, dried, frozen or untanned skins and any untanned fox parts including tails.
 
Victoria: Foxes are a declared established pest animal under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. Land owners (public and private) must take all reasonable steps to prevent the spread of foxes, and eradicate them where possible. It is an offence to bring foxes into Victoria, or keep, sell or release them without a permit.
 
Western Australia: Foxes are a declared pest under the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection Act 1976. However, this Act will soon be superseded by the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007. All land managers (public and private) must make reasonable endeavours to reduce and control foxes. It is an offence to release foxes.
 
Implications of fox management legislation
 
There are problems associated with the legal declaration of foxes as pest animals if it is not enforced. In those states where foxes are declared, enforcement is uncommon, leaving fox management in Australia largely a voluntary activity. Problems include:
  • Criteria for assessment — foxes are cryptic animals and extremely difficult to count. How do you assess that a particular area of land officially has a fox ‘problem’, and what level of impact is regarded as problematic?
  • Fox ecology — foxes are highly mobile and can rapidly move into new areas. So who has ownership of the pest problem?
  • Control techniques — 1080 baiting is the only practical broadscale and cost-efficient fox control technique, but is restricted in its use and appeal. Shooting has been shown to be less effective at a landscape scale, and trapping is limited to small areas.
Fox control techniques Each fox control technique is governed by legislation within each state or territory. Each technique is also generally covered by a code of practice, written in accordance with animal welfare legislation.
 
Pesticide use: All pesticides possessed, sold, supplied or intended for use in Australia must be registered. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), which administers the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994, is responsible for registering pesticides and issuing permits for off-
label use. An off-label permit may be issued to use a pesticide contrary to its registered use, or to use an unregistered pesticide.
 
1080: The most common toxicant used against foxes is 1080, a restricted chemical and a Schedule 7 poison. 1080 requires special precautions in manufacture, handling, storage and use, and has special regulations regarding labelling and availability.
FXFS5 1080
 
FXFS5 Table 1
 
Each state has its own legislation controlling the supply and use of 1080 (Table 1). However, there are many similarities, such as the requirement that only authorised personnel can prepare and supply 1080 baits to land managers who must comply with a range of conditions (chemical use training, bait application, distance restrictions, notifications of neighbours and display of warning signs).
 
Other toxins:
  • Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) is being investigated as an alternate fox toxin, but is not yet registered for general use in Australia.
  • Strychnine has been phased out in most states, although it can still be used on traps in Queensland, if they cannot be checked daily.
  • Cyanide is not a registered vertebrate pesticide in any state in Australia, but limited-use permits may be obtained for research purposes.
Trapping: The trapping of foxes is governed by animal welfare legislation in each state and territory. Steel-jaw leg-hold traps (toothed and/or without padding) are prohibited for foxes across Australia, although some states allow modified and padded (soft-jaw) leg-hold traps to be used (Table 2).
 
Shooting: Landowners are permitted to hunt and kill foxes on their own land. A recreational shooter needs to get permission from the landowner before shooting on private lands. Shooting on most public lands is prohibited. In New South Wales, foxes are listed as a game animal under the Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002 and regulated hunting is permitted on designated public lands.
 
The general use of firearms is covered under individual state legislation. A code of practice for fox shooting has been approved by the federal and state governments. Animal welfare legislation may apply if foxes are not shot as humanely as possible.
 
Hunting with dogs: Dogs may be used to flush a fox out from cover so it can be shot. This use of dogs is governed by a state or territory’s animal welfare legislation. In Victoria and New South Wales, fox hunters who use hounds and horses must be members of approved hunting organisations.
FXFS5 Table 2
 
The only hounds permitted to be used for this purpose are ‘foxhounds’ identified with a legible ear tattoo and registered with a hunting organisation approved by the Bureau of Animal Welfare. Foxes hunted using foxhounds and horses should not be headed or
deliberately diverted for the purpose of prolonging the hunt. Once a fox has gone to ground it should not be pursued again on that hunt. A humane means of killing the animal must be available if it is needed.
 
Further information
 
  1. Saunders G and McLeod L (2007). Improving Fox Management Strategies in Australia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  2. Sharp T and Saunders G (2005). Model Code of Practice for the Humane Control of Foxes. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange, NSW.
  3. Sharp T and Saunders G (2005). Standard Operating Procedure – Ground Baiting of Foxes with 1080 (FOX 001). NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange, NSW.
  4. Sharp T and Saunders G (2005). Standard Operating Procedure – Ground Shooting of Foxes (FOX 003). NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange.
  5. Sharp T and Saunders G (2005). Standard Operating Procedure – Trapping of Foxes Using Padded-Jaw Traps (FOX 005). NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 4
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXFS5
Region Australia - national
Documents

PestSmart Factsheet: Fox legislation in Australia [360 kb PDF]

Links

Pestsmart fox page: www.pestsmart.org.au/pest-animal-species/european-fox/

FXFS7 Tasmania

Foxes in Tasmania

Introduction
 
Foxes pose a significant threat to Tasmania’s biodiversity and agricultural sector. The potential cost of an established fox population has been estimated at over $20 million annually, with more than 70 native species, including 12 species already listed as threatened and 34 with locally restricted ranges, at risk of predation or competition.
 
Despite historical records indicating that a number of introductions have been attempted since the 1860s, foxes do not appear to have become firmly established in the Tasmanian landscape. However, reported sightings of foxes in Tasmania have increased since the  1990s. Combined with allegations of deliberate importation of foxes and the discovery of a number of carcasses and other physical evidence, this led to the formation of the Tasmanian Fox Free Taskforce (FFT) in 2001, evolving into the Fox Eradication Program (FEP) in 2006. The FEP is believed to be one of the largest invasive  species eradication programs ever attempted in the world.
 
“DNA analysis has become a critical addition to the traditional tools for monitoring foxes”
 
Evidence of foxes in Tasmania
 
Evidence of the presence of foxes in Tasmania has been subjected to sustained public debate, with some in the community disputing the authenticity and relevance of the carcasses, scats and other evidence collected. Between 1998 and 2012, four carcasses, 61 scats containing fox DNA, and almost 3000 public reports of fox activity were collected, as well as a small quantity of other physical  evidence such as blood. Figure 1 shows the distribution of the physical evidence, which indicates the presence of foxes in most agricultural landscapes with fragmented vegetation cover in the state.
 
FXFS7 Fig 1
 
Scats are independently tested at the University of Canberra’s Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) to identify the presence of fox DNA, which confirms that a scat is from a fox as opposed to another carnivore. A ‘Strategic Scat Survey’ conducted between 2008 and 2010 in conjunction with the IAE and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre provided valuable data about the extent of the fox population in Tasmania, although many questions remain about the behaviour of foxes in what is presumed to be a low-density environment. Efforts to identify individual foxes via genotyping have successfully analysed 16 samples to date.
 
The issue of evidence of foxes in Tasmania is contentious in some sectors with a degree of scepticism displayed by some individuals of the threat from foxes and the need for the program. The need to  continually explain the existence and significance of the evidence is critical to maintain public understanding of the threat.
 
Fox Free Taskforce
 
The FFT was established in 2001 to mount the initial response to increased evidence of foxes in Tasmania. Efforts focused on responding to public sightings of foxes and other fox evidence, reported via a 24-hour hotline, with 1080 baiting and trapping done at a local district level where evidence was discovered.
 
Fox Eradication Program
 
In 2006, increased resources from the Tasmanian and Australian Governments and a new 10-year commitment to fox eradication led to establishment of the FEP. Three years later, an independent review of the FEP identified that — given the widespread distribution of physical evidence of foxes — the ‘reactionary’ strategy of the FEP needed to change, with foxes now assumed to be in areas identified as optimal or ‘core fox habitat’, and increased post-bait monitoring.
 
The FEP now operates using three phases of activity, working progressively across the state. In the first phase, community  engagement activities are held to raise awareness and begin the process of seeking consent to enter properties for baiting and monitoring. In the second phase, 1080 baiting (using 3 mg of 1080 in a manufactured meat bait buried at strategic locations) is done in the area, with untaken baits removed after 14–28 days to monitor the rate of bait uptake and minimise any potential risks of toxin residues. In the final phase, post-bait monitoring is done mostly using trained detection dogs to determine if there are surviving foxes or re-invaders in the area.
 
Program structure
 
There are six main elements of the current program:
 
  1. Strategic baiting: implementing precautionary baiting in all areas modelled as likely core fox habitat.
  2. Post-bait monitoring: using a range of monitoring techniques to enable an area to be deemed ‘fox-free’, or to detect survivors and initiate a lethal control response.
  3. Community engagement: raising awareness among, and gaining cooperation from, key stakeholders in the community.
  4. Research: developing and delivering projects that support the eradication effort.
  5. Biosecurity: minimising the possibility of new incursions.
  6. Program management: managing the program’s projects and activities.
A steering committee of representatives from relevant government agencies and funding bodies oversees the program, with panels of scientific experts and key stakeholders to advise the FEP.
 
FXFS7 detection dog
 
Key challenges
 
  • Countering misinformation and low levels of interest in the program that limit access to land and support for the program in general.
  • Detecting low-density populations of foxes, and understanding potential fox behaviours in that environment.
  • Managing the scale of the program including the number of properties, amount of data, and the terrain and climate involved.
The benefits of the success of this program will be considerable for Tasmania, and worth the continued effort to overcome the challenges. It is important for the program design to remain science-based, and actions are followed through to completion to ensure foxes do not become established in Tasmania.
 
Further information
 
  1. Saunders G, Lane C, Harris S and Dickman C (2006). Foxes in Tasmania: A Report on an Incursion of an Invasive Species. Invasive Animal Cooperative Research Centre, Canberra.
  2. Phillips D (2008). Import Risk Analysis of Fox Entry Pathways into Tasmania. Report by Biosecurity Technical Group, Fox Working Group, Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania.
  3. Parkes J and Anderson D (2009). Review of the Attempt to Eradicate Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Tasmania. Landcare Research Contract Report LC0809. Lincoln, New Zealand.
  4. Foxes in Tasmania. Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania.
  5. PestSmart Toolkit for foxes. Invasive Animals CRC. www.feral.org.au/pestsmart/foxes/
 
 
Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2 pp
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXFS7
Control method Baiting
Region TAS
Documents

PestSmart Factsheet: Foxes in Tasmania [540kb PDF]

Links

PestSmart Toolkit: Foxes

FXFS3 fox fence

Fencing for fox control

Introduction
 
Barrier or exclusion fencing is a non-lethal method commonly used to prevent fox attacks on domestic livestock and threatened wildlife species. Although fences are commonly used to protect livestock (eg poultry) from fox predation on a small backyard scale, they have only recently been used on a larger scale in Australia. This has mainly been in response to the need to protect threatened wildlife species and the availability of electric fencing materials.
 
Fencing can be effective, but the barrier is not absolute. A monitoring system and a management plan need to be in place to rapidly detect and control any breaches. Surplus killing (where they kill more than they can eat) by foxes that manage to breach a fence protecting endangered species can be catastrophic. Additional fox control in a buffer zone outside the enclosure can make fencing much more effective.
 
“Fencing can be effective, but the barrier is not absolute”
 
Design features
 
There are a range of fence designs that have been developed to exclude foxes. Choosing the best design depends on:
  • which species are to be protected
  • the area to be covered
  • whether other pests are also to be excluded (eg rabbits)
  • the presence of non-target animals
  • maintenance resources and budget.
Features of the local environment also need to be considered, such as the topography, substrate (soil, rock etc), vegetation density, climatic conditions and geographical location.
 
FXFS3 fox fence diagram
 
Most fence designs are composites containing wire netting and electric wires. Wire netting (40—50 mm diameter hexagonal) stops foxes pushing through the base of the fence (30 mm diameter is needed if rabbits are to be excluded as well). Electric wires are used as added deterrents, although they are generally ineffective by themselves. Placement and spacing of wires can vary (see diagrams).
 
Foxes are excellent diggers, so the wire netting should be either buried at least 450 mm underground or attached to a concrete or wooden floor (in the case of a small pen). Alternatively, an apron of netting angled outwards across the ground for 300—600 mm at the base of the fence is also effective. These aprons need to be secured with weights or pegs in areas of soft substrate or water courses.
 
Foxes are also excellent jumpers and climbers. They can jump a standard 900 mm fence; so many designs double this height (1800 mm) using more netting or various spacings of electric wires. However, this naturally increases the cost of the fence. Standard-height fences are often used when the area can tolerate occasional  fox incursions and the cost needs to be minimised.
 
An outward-facing overhang can also prevent animals scaling the fence. These overhangs can be floppy or rigid and incorporate electric wires as added deterrents. In smaller pens, a complete wire netting roof is also an option.
 
Posts and corners are often targeted by foxes and should be given special consideration. Steel posts are

more difficult than timber ones for an animal to climb. Extra netting should be added at corners to discourage climbing. Weak points in netting and joins should be strengthened to prevent foxes from forcing their way through. Wire needs to be thicker than 0.9 mm, as foxes can chew through this gauge.
 
FXFS3 fox fence diagram 2
 
FXFS3 fox fence diagram 3
 
Further information
 
  1. Long K and Robley A (2004). Cost Effective Feral Animal Exclusion Fencing for Areas of High Conservation Value in Australia Part 1. Natural Heritage Trust, Canberra.
  2. Long K and Robley A (2004). Cost Effective Feral Animal Exclusion Fencing for Areas of High Conservation Value in Australia Part 2: Catalogue of Fence Designs. Natural Heritage Trust, Canberra.
  3. Coman BJ and McCutchan J (1994). Predator Exclusion Fencing for Wildlife Management in Australia. Unpublished report Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra.
  4. Moseby KE and Read JL (2006). The efficacy of feral cat, fox and rabbit exclusion fence designs for threatened species protection. Biological Conservation 127:429–437.
  5. Robley A, Purdey D, Johnston M, Lindeman M and Busana F (2006). Experimental Trials to Determine Effective Feral Cat and Fox  Exclusion Fence Designs. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2 pp
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXFS3
Control method Fencing
Region Australia - national
Documents

PestSmart Factsheet: Fencing for fox control [700kb PDF]

Links

PestSmart toolkit: Foxes

GuardDog_cover

Guardian Dogs: Best Practice Manual for the use of Livestock Guardian Dogs.

Livestock guardian dogs are medium to large sized dogs that are kept with livestock to protect them from predators. In Australia they are mainly used to protect sheep, goats and poultry, but they can work with any type of livestock; for example, with cattle, horses, rabbits, deer, emu or ostriches. These dogs live permanently with ‘their’ stock, and regard them as their social companions, protecting them from anything that they see as a threat. In Australia, livestock guardian dogs are mainly used to protect against dingoes, feral dogs and foxes, but also against birds of prey, cats, goannas, crows, quolls and Tasmanian devils.

The information contained in this manual has been collated from a range of producers, breeders and owners of livestock guardian dogs and should provide the basis to successfully employ these animals in a range of environments and grazing situations. It should also make prospective owners of livestock guardian dogs aware that there is a level of commitment required for training and management to make them work effectively as part of your business just as is the case with any other working dog.

Author Linda van Bommel
Year 2010
Place published Canberra
Publisher Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Pages 137 pp
ISBN/ISSN ISBN: 978-1-921777-00-4
Documents

Guardian Dogs: Best Practice Manual for the use of Livestock Guardian Dogs.

Links

http://www.invasiveanimals.com/research/goals/goal-1/1t5e/

fox-placeholder

Declaring the fox a pest in New South Wales

In New South Wales the declaration of an animal as a pest under the Rural Lands Protection Act 1998 places a legal obligation on land managers to implement pest management programs. Currently, the fox is not a declared pest in this state, so participation in fox management programs is voluntary. Foxes are declared pests in most other states and territories in Australia. At their annual meeting in 2005, the NSW Rural Lands Protection Board (now Livestock Health and Pest Authority; LHPA) State Council proposed that the official declaration of foxes should be explored. In a 2007 survey of land managers, three quarters of 400 respondents supported the idea that the fox should be a declared pest in New South Wales.

Case study on the usefulness of legislative powers to improve fox management. Produced by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre as part of the PestSmart series.

Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2 pp
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXCS4
Region NSW
Documents

PestSmart Case Study: Declaring the fox a pest in New South Wales [340kb PDF]

Links

PestSmart toolkit: Foxes

fox-placeholder

Foxes on Phillip Island

Fox predation is considered the greatest land-based threat to the long-term viability of the penguin colonies on Phillip Island, one of Victoria’s leading tourist attractions. Regular fox control for 20 years up to 2006 had reduced the fox population, but penguins continued to be preyed upon. It was decided that an eradication program should be put in place, before penguin losses and escalating costs of fox control threatened the tourism industry and its benefits to the local and state economy. The eradication program began in 2006.

Case study on the current attempt to eradicate foxes from Phillip Island off the Victorian coast. Produced by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre as part of the PestSmart series.

Reference type Fact Sheet
Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2 pp
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXCS5
Control method Integrated Pest Management
Region VIC
Documents

PestSmart Case Study: Foxes on Phillip Island [200kb PDF]

Links
FXFS6 Fox

Advances in the molecular ecology of foxes

Introduction
 
Foxes are highly secretive and cryptic animals. They are wary of humans, highly mobile and occur at relatively low densities across the landscape. These factors make the collection of key biological and ecological data relevant to their control, such as density and survival, challenging. Management decisions are often made without a full understanding of the fox’s biology or behaviour, potentially limiting the effectiveness, and making it difficult to accurately evaluate the success of any management actions.
 
One response to the problem of how to directly measure the density of such an elusive species is to use a non-invasive survey technique such as an activity index (eg counts of tracks and scats). A major limitation with this method is that without identification of individual animals, and hence some understanding of their behaviour, it is difficult to attribute a change in activity to a change in population density.
 
“DNA analysis has become a critical addition to the traditional tools for monitoring foxes”
 
Advances in molecular biology and bioinformatics have permitted the development of the non-invasive analysis of DNA, otherwise known as genetic tagging1. This technology has the ability not only to distinguish between species but also to identify individual  animals. Combined with the range of non-invasive survey  techniques (eg hair or scat collection), DNA analysis has become a critical addition to the traditional tools for monitoring foxes. The Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IA CRC), in collaboration with the University of Canberra and the University of Western Australia, has been at the forefront of research in this area in Australia. Their most recent program was divided into five main project-elements:
 
  • the survey and detection of foxes at low abundance for better targeted baiting and other fox control measures
  • the monitoring of abundance and survival of foxes subject to lethal control methods
  • the use of landscape genetics as a tool to estimate dispersal distances of foxes and define optimal management areas
  • the determination of the relatedness and mainland origins of foxes in Tasmania
  • the estimation of the number of breeding foxes and immigration rate onto Phillip Island in Victoria.
This factsheet contains a summary of this research program, the  techniques developed and how they can inform management decisions.
 
FXFS6 Fox2
 
To be able to apply this new technology to answer any
biological fox management questions, there was a need
to develop accurate methods that are reliable, flexible,
and cost-effective.
 
DNA Analysis
 
Most DNA-based techniques for species identification usually involve post-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) manipulations of samples (eg restriction digests, gel electrophoresis). These techniques add time and cost to the process, and increase the chance of contamination and handling errors. The team from the IA CRC developed a highly accurate and reliable method for identifying species from DNA samples that did not require post-PCR manipulations. Instead DNA fragments are PCR amplified using a pool of species-specific primers (eg fox, cat, dog, quoll, Tasmanian devil), then identified using melt-curve analysis (MCA) to distinguish species2. These researchers were also able to develop a sexing test using a similar approach3.

 
Remotely capturing DNA samples
 
DNA samples can be collected from most parts of the fox body (eg body tissue, blood, hair, faeces). The research team found that faeces were useful for field-based collections as they were relatively long-lasting. Testing several methods of DNA extraction, it was found that the relatively quicker, cheaper method was successful in extracting sufficient DNA for species identification, even after the faeces had been on the ground for up to three months. However, the sexing test was found to be more reliable when faeces were less than three weeks old, and was maximised by the use of a more labour-intensive DNA-extraction process3.
 
Abundance and survival monitoring in Western Australia
 
A landscape-scale experiment was conducted in the wheatbelt areas of Western Australia to use DNA analysis to estimate density and survival of foxes during a typical 1080 aerial baiting program. DNA was obtained from hair samples that were collected using hair snares. This analysis of hair samples provided significantly more individual ‘captures’ than conventional trapping methods typically provides, potentially allowing for more accurate and precise evaluations of the effectiveness of control. The results identified 58 unique individuals and demonstrated a 100% knockdown of the resident fox population, indicating the effectiveness of 1080 aerial baiting programs in removing individual foxes1.
FXFS6 DNA
 
Landscape genetics
 
This project collected over 3500 fox samples from across Australia. The DNA analysis has demonstrated that foxes from Western  Australia are genetically distinct from those in the eastern states, with movement virtually non-existent across the deserts of central Australia.
 
Foxes in Tasmania
 
The survey and detection of foxes at low abundance using DNA analysis has proved reliable. It has provided independent evidence for the presence of foxes in Tasmania, and remains an important tool in the eradication program 3,4 (see Foxes in Tasmania factsheet for more detail). So far 18 individual foxes have been successfully  identified from faeces, blood and tissue samples found throughout Tasmania. There have been no recaptures of these 18 individuals.
 
Foxes on Phillip Island
 
Foxes have been established on Phillip Island for over 100 years, and have a major impact on the populations of native wildlife,  particularly breeding colonies of little penguins, Eudyptula minor
(see Phillip Island case study for more details). Despite ongoing intensive control programs, foxes still persist. By using DNA analysis techniques, researchers have been able to measure the rates of  increase of the fox population on Phillip Island. This research has shown that reproduction is the main source of population increase, with immigration from the mainland only providing a small contribution. Although fox control was shown to reduce fox densities, there was evidence that the net number of new individuals did not decline because of increased reproductive success5.
 
Further information
  1. Berry O, Algar D, Angus J, Hamilton N, Hilmer S and Sutherland D (2012). Genetic tagging reveals a significant impact of poison baiting on an invasive species. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 76(4): 729–739.
  2. Berry O and Sarre S (2007). Gel-free species identification using melt-curve analysis. Molecular Ecology Notes 7(1): 1-4.
  3. Berry O, Sarre SD, Farrington L and Aitken N (2007). Faecal DNA detection of invasive species: the case of feral foxes in Tasmania. Wildlife Research 34(1): 1-7.
  4. Sarre S, Walsh R, Aitken N, Foster A and Mooney N (2008). DNA detection of foxes to prevent their establishment in Tasmania. United States Department of Agriculture Symposium in Managing Vertebrate Invasive Species, 7-9 August 2007, Fort Collins  Colorado, USA, pp. 454-459.
  5. Berry O and Kirkwood R (2010). Measuring recruitment in an invasive species to determine eradication potential. Journal of Wildlife Management 74(8): 1661-1670.
 
 
 
Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2012
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2 pp
ISBN/ISSN PestSmart code: FXFS6
Region Australia - national
Documents

PestSmart Factsheet: Advances in the molecular ecology of foxes [350 kb PDF]

Links

PestSmart Toolkit: Foxes

Feral Photos 2011

These images were entries in the first-ever Invasive Animals CRC’s Feral Photos photography competition held in 2011. The competition was initiated to help improve levels of awareness among members of the community, who have observed the presence of pest animals in their environment. The photos illustrate the significant diversity of pests we have in Australia and entries were received from across each State & Territory.
WARNING: Some people may find some of the following images confronting or distressing.

Click on the thumbnails to view a larger image.

See the website www.invasiveanimals.com/feral-photos for more information.

Review of the Program to Eradicate Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government has been managing a program to eradicate red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Tasmania since 2002 in response to growing evidence of the presence of a small population. The funding partners in the program have been the Australian Government (curently through the Caring for Country initiative), the Tasmanian Government and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre. In April 2009, the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) commissioned Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd to review the program to assess whether eradication was still a feasible goal and to identify changes that might be required.

Author John Parkes and Dean Anderson
Year 2009
Publisher Landcare Research (NZ)
Department For: Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Tasmania
Pages 55
ISBN/ISSN Landcare Research Contract Report: LC0809/176
Region TAS
Documents Review of the Program to Eradicate Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from Tasmania [2.35 Mb PDF]
Links http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/LBUN-5JNW5U?open