Feral peril: More than 30 foxes swarm in from the surrounding area for a free feed.

Saunders blocks fox bounty

NSW Invasive Species director for the Department of PrimaryIndustries, Glen Saunders, has rejected calls for a bounty on foxes despite thesuccess of the Victorian program.

Long-suffering far west NSW pastoralists have called for theanimal to be recognised as a pest in the state’s legislation in line with otherstates, and a contract shooter said a bounty would be an effective way toreduce fox numbers.

However, in a media report yesterday, Saunders said hedidn’t believe a bounty system would work.

“They universally don’t work as they’re just a methodof sustained harvesting. Bounties don’t drill down to that local level,”he said.

“Foxes are taken from large areas on presentation of abounty but they don’t tend to solve local problems as well as a co-ordinatedbaiting program.”

Meanwhile, one young Victorian girl has enough money to buyher first car after that state’s successful fox and wild dog bounty offer.

Sixteen-year-old Alicia Kutz from Broadford, Vic, is one ofmany hunters cashing in on the bounty that was introduced in 2011.

She said she started shooting with her father when she was12 and has turned in 1165 fox scalps, banking $11,650.

In Victoria, shooters receive a $10 bounty for every foxscalp, while wild dog pelts earn $100, a rise of $50 this year.

This has resulted in more than 200,000 foxes shot since thebounty program began, and 793 dog pelts received so far – a figure that shows adoubling of dog kills since the bounty increased, which is a clear indication abounty system works in the eradication of feral pests.

NSW shooters, meanwhile, are excluded from such incentives,thanks to DPI dithering over the issue apparently on Saunders’ advice.

In response to the pastoralist call to even take the step oflabelling foxes a pest animal, Saunders said, “There’s lots of reasons why it’sdifficult for foxes. They’re a cryptic animal and they’re really difficult tocensus.

“One of the things you’ve got to do is that you’ve got tohave some sort of criteria for assessment and you’ve got to be able todemonstrate that on a particular property foxes are an uncontrolled pest. Thatmight be all right in word but in defining that to satisfy in a court of law isreally difficult.”




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