Feral foxes are one of our biggest killers

Trevor Tucker. Sale


FEW weeks ago, while driving home at night from Melbourne, I saw five feral red foxes between Traralgon and Sale.

The first was seen about 1km east from Traralgon, the other four were seen between the Pearson bridge and Raglan Sts, within the precinct of Sale.

Those sightings are probably not unusual, since 60 percent of feral foxes are known to either live within town limits, or on the fringes thereof where food is more abundant and made easy for them to steal.

However, knowing that’s the case and knowing that feral foxes are responsible for enormous lamb and sheep losses – and staggering losses to our protected indigenous fauna – it amazes me that so little is being done to humanely eradicate them.

For example, the fox bounty program could do with an urgent overhaul to properly reward hunters for their efforts.

It should be known that given the ‘pest status’ of the feral fox, it is the legal obligation of everyone (regardless of where you live) to not only report feral fox sightings to Wellington Shire Council, but to do whatever is necessary to ensure your property is not – and cannot become – a refuge for feral foxes.

Non-compliance penalties can be applied.

Within city limits, you are prohibited from discharging firearms, even though shooting feral foxes is the most humane and efficient eradication approach.

Beyond city limits, farmers are within their rights, and obliged where possible, to shoot any and every feral fox which ventures onto their property.

Cage trapping of feral foxes is acceptable, but not if 1080 poison is used to bait the trap (captured feral foxes must then be humanely euthanised).

So come on folks, do your bit … apply three simple rules to where you live.

First, don’t leave pet food lying around outside.

Second, ensure that the surrounds of your house, and that of any of your sheds cannot harbour a fox or its family.

Third, and most importantly, ensure that there is no access for feral foxes to establish themselves underneath either your house, or under any of your sheds.

Don’t feel aggrieved if your actions successfully displace any feral foxes from your suburban location.

Remember, they are a declared, highly destructive pest species.

And remember, if left alone, our only apex animal – our dingo – will kill feral foxes, thereby not only restoring, but maintaining much-needed eco balance throughout our bush.

Also, please remember that the burying of 1080 baits and the aerial disbursement of 1080 baits has been proven to be a counterproductive, abject failure, causing more deaths to our indigenous fauna (such as dingoes, goannas, quolls, potoroos and bandicoots) than killing feral foxes.

And worse, any indigenous mammal, reptile, bird or even insects which then consume a 1080 poisoned carcase will also experience an horrific, needless death.