Controlling foxes for biodiversity benefits – new directions in Victoria

Predation of native wildlife by the introduced Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is listed as a threatening process at the Commonwealth level through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. A similar listing has also occurred recently in New South Wales under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. While Victorian agencies have developed a number of research and/or management programs focussing on fox control for biodiversity and agricultural production benefits, there has to date been little coordination between these programs and their aims. Despite the innovative and outcome-oriented nature of some Victorian programs, no concerted effort has been made to tackle the issue of fox predation at a broad scale; as has been done with great success in southern Western Australia (“Western Shield”) and in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia (“Bounceback 2000”). Recently, however, significant new initiative funding for biodiversity research has been made available in Victoria through the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s Parks Flora and Fauna Division and this has stimulated efforts to prioritise and integrate current research and management activities for introduced predators. In line with Federal and State strategies, Victoria has commenced development of a broad plan of action which builds on four key areas: (1) implementing pilot fox control programs on an experimental or ‘adaptive management’ basis; (2) underpinning such control programs with research to examine predator impacts and develop innovative, targeted and humane methods for fox management; (3) educating and involving land managers and community groups in co-ordinated control programs in order to value-add and increase their effectiveness across all land tenures; and (4) monitoring the outcomes of fox control in terms of the conservation benefits derived. A Strategic Research Plan on Fox Predation has been released which outlines five approaches to fox control: threatened species management, ‘fortress’ sites, broadscale experiments, reintroductions and agriculturally focussed programs. The central philosophy of the Research Plan is to harness and align the many small and several large fox control programs as case studies and experiments that can supply information on clearly defined, priority questions and enable more efficient and targeted use of resources. The focus in the longer term will be on developing further broadscale control experiments in cooperation with relevant land managers and community groups and drawing together the key research findings to define and establish ‘best practice’ methodologies for fox control. These strategic developments are discussed with reference to current and proposed research and management programs.

Author Friend, G., Soderquist, T., Fisher, P. and Loyn, R.
Date null
Year 2001
Secondary title 12th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference, Melbourne
Place published Conference Location
Publisher Department of Natural Resources and Environment, M
Pages 22-27
Notes Notes
Region VIC