Rambo the fox
Rambo evaded capture almost five years, making occasional appearances on one of the 97 cameras used in the fenced area

Rambo’s rampage is over: floods, not people, lead to fox’s downfall

Rambo the fox is dead and a 5800-hectare fenced protection zone is now officially safe for reintroduced native animals, but it wasn’t human efforts that finally brought the feral predator’s rampage to an end. 

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) says it had dedicated a total of 10,400 nights to trying to trap Rambo, 73 nights to trying to shoot him, 55 days of using scent-tracking dogs to find him and 3500 baits trying to poison him, all with no joy.

Rambo the fox
The Pilliga’s most wanted, a red fox nicknamed Rambo, was last seen walking away from a camera trap on 9 October 2022. He is believed to have met his fate during one of two flooding events in October 2022

However, it appears Rambo finally succumbed to the force of nature, possibly drowning in one of last year’s major floods or being driven out by them, according to the AWC, which is now certain the elusive fox is gone for good. 

Formerly a regular on game cameras in the protection zone, which is in the Pilliga region of NSW, Rambo hasn’t been seen in the limelight since 9 October 2022.

Since then, says the AWC, not a single piece of evidence of his existence has been found.

“Adios Rambo!” said Wayne Sparrow, AWC operations Manager in the Pilliga who championed the mammoth chase for the sly predator. 

“The lack of evidence is evidence in itself – we are so confident the fox is gone that we’ve even had an ‘Eradication Celebration’.

“We have the result we need and we can move forward with reintroducing new species and the whole project will progress.

“I’m incredibly proud of everyone who joined me on those many sleepless nights and stressful days. My work here is done – it’s over to the science team,” he joked.  

AWC with the National Parks and Wildlife Service constructed the Pilliga fence in July 2018 for the reintroduction of six locally extinct species. 

Greater bilby
An endangered greater bilby released into the feral predator-proof fenced area in Pilliga MP. Photo: Brad Leue/Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Due to Rambo’s presence, only three of the species were reintroduced within a smaller 680-hectare breeding area located within the larger fence. 

These were the greater bilby (2018), bridled nailtail wallaby (2019) and brush-tailed bettong (2022).

“The timing is perfect,” said Dr Vicki Stokes, AWC Senior Wildlife Ecologist. 

“Bilbies and the bridled nailtail wallabies are ready to move into the larger area. Good conditions in the forest over the last few years have meant that both populations are doing exceptionally well and it’s good to get them out into the wider area so they can flourish.

“We are also very excited to be able to move forward with reintroductions and we will be doing so very soon. 

“We hope to release the vulnerable plains mouse before June and the western barred bandicoot in September.”




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