The European red fox is a major pest in Australia threatening a range of native fauna and preying on livestock, in particular lambs. The profile of the fox as a pest animal has undergone a dramatic change over the last decade with its promotion as a major threat to the environment and agriculture by government agencies, conservation groups and pest control companies. This change has also occurred partly in response to the withdrawal of commercial harvesting operations with the collapse of the fur trade. Accompanying this elevation of public perceptions has been an exponential increase in fox control activities, particularly lethal baiting. Despite intensive efforts, particularly for agricultural protection, the fox remains ubiquitous throughout mainland Australia.
In our most recent (2004) pest animal survey conducted in NSW and the ACT it was estimated that the fox inhabited 792,974 km2 or 98.6% of the state. Of all control strategies used against the fox, 77% of actions consisted of lethal (1080) baiting. Unfortunately, the body of evidence based on unequivocal evaluation of fox control on agricultural lands is poorly reported and we have to rely heavily on anecdotal or unpublished information to sustain the notion that ongoing control campaigns against the fox produce positive cost-benefits.
|Author||Saunders, G., Walter, M., McLeod, L., West, P. and McLeod, S.|
|Secondary title||13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference|
|Place published||Wellington, NZ|
|Control method||1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate)|