Whist the media concentrates on deer and pig culling Australian farmers hip pockets are getting hit hard by foxes. Sheep farmers feeling it the most with lambs being high on the foxes menu. A fox can take up to 12 lambsin a single night.
With this also comesextensive native animal destruction which is often not seen until its too late. Some states currently run bounys for the foxes but most are lagging when it comes to fox control incentatives.
It’s thought foxes inhabit two thirds of the lower part of Australia with Tasmania the only state to have successfully eradicated the pest, which was introduced as early as 1845.
The ABC reported Chief executive of The Centre for Invasive Species Solution Andreas Glanznig said foxes impacted upon
up to 84 threatened species, eight of which were already listed at ‘high risk’ of extinction.
“They even impact on a number of turtle and frog species,” Mr Glanznig said.
“But the question of what is the national fox population is too difficult to estimate and you’d simply end up with a very wide estimate that is not helpful.
“I think what is more significant is having an understanding of the impact that foxes cause both on Australian wildlife but on agriculture and particularly the lambing industry.”
Hunting clubs working with farmers can make a good dent in fox populations with professionally organised drives and culling programs.
Western Australian sheep farmer Marcus Gifford was one of many to take part in a recent sanctioned cull of feral animals in his home town of Boyup Brook in the state’s south west.
Mr Gifford said the annual event supplemented baiting programs of the poison 1080, which he said, while effective, came with the risk of also poisoning inquisitive farm dogs in the process.
“This [shooting] is about the best and most precise way we’ve got to control foxes on our farms,” Mr Gifford told the ABC on
the night of the cull.
“It’s time-consuming but at the end of the day, it’s the best way to do it.”
The two-day event netted a staggering 701 foxes, 77 feral cats, 186 rabbits and five pigs but Mr Gifford concurred foxes were responsible for the most damage, both to livestock and his bottom line.
“If they kill more than several in a night that’s pretty much a week’s wages gone from one fox.”
Have you had a successful fox drive? Please send your photos in, and we will share the success stories on our website.