Developing a strategic fox eradication program in a sceptical social environment

From 1998 to late 2003 there was concrete evidence showing a small number of red foxes exist in Tasmania. This spate of evidence led to the Fox Free Tasmania program tasked with eradicating foxes.

The history, effects and the difficulties of controlling foxes on mainland Australia are accepted but many Tasmanians remain sceptical about foxes in the state. Despite at least five incursions into Tasmania since 1864, foxes apparently never established and therefore both they and their impacts are not noticed and the risks not accepted by much of the public. The abundance of foxes in many areas of mainland Australia gives the impression they are easy to find; an attitude transferred to Tasmania by visitors. Combined with homocentric media programs about modern forensics, this impression completely over-rides the realities of finding, let alone counting, very rare animals. This builds on a basic scepticism that comes from decades of ‘crying wolf’ with reports of Thylacines. Indeed, the issues create considerable confusion in that many people that dismiss foxes accept there are still Thylacines, completely contradicting the weight of evidence. Occasional hoaxes create further suspicion.

Author Emms, C., Bloomfield, T. E. and Mooney, N.
Date 2005-05-02
Year 2005
Secondary title 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Wellington, NZ
Publisher Landcare Research
Institution TAS Department of Primary Industries, Water and En
Pages 150-151
Region TAS
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