Monday, January 25, 2010

farmdoc's blog post number 645

In Australia the European Red Fox [1, 2] (Vulpes vulpes) is a major threat to lamb farming, and also the survival of native wildlife. In Tasmania the wildlife threat’s more frightening because Tasmania has many small native mammals for foxes to prey on. Tasmania was thought to be fox-free until recent years. But no longer. Since an established, self-sustaining fox population in Tasmania would impact severely if not catastrophically on our wildlife, agriculture and tourism, the State Government (with some Federal money too) has set up a Fox Eradication Program aiming to return Tasmania to fox-free status. The Program’s integrated approach includes a survey of carnivore scats from areas of suitable fox habitat across the State, to provide data for strategic baiting. It’s been dubbed ‘The Great Poo Hunt 2008-2010’. In 2008 in the North East, 3,000 scats revealed six containing fox DNA. In 2009 in the South East, 2,200 scats were collected; and the 1,000 analysed so far have included five containing fox DNA. The 2010 Great Poo Hunt is in North Central Tasmania – from 1 March to 4 June. As our property’s been designated prime fox habitat, we’ve been invited to participate. That’s a no-brainer, of course. Not all properties whose owners grant access will be surveyed. Stay tuned, folks.

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