Image for But Where Is The Fox?  Nine years on. Ivan Dean’s ‘great concern’

On September the 13th 2001 Eric Bosworth and his mate Scotty Geeves claim to have shot a fox on a Youl property at Symmons Plains; however, they claim not to have found the decomposing carcass until the 23rd of September, some ten days later.

This carcass was what is called the first “hard evidence” of a fox shot in Tasmania. ( Download: 2005_09_27_fox_bosworth.pdf ).

Bosworth believed there was $5000 State Government reward in circulation at the time.

Bosworth claimed at the time that even though he had shot many foxes on the mainland, that night he didn’t know what he was shooting at; he didn’t even bother to check ... but no shooter shoots at anything without making sure what the target is; besides through a fixed four power ‘scope and illuminated by a 100 watt spotlight he would have been able to count the fox’s whiskers at the measured distance of 60m.

The $60m question is though: how did (allegedly) a long tailed mouse (Pseudomys higginsi) find its way into the stomach contents of this fox?

The first of the three previously mentioned imported carcasses featured in the famous Longford fox photo was sent anonymously to the local newspaper at the end of July 2001; this photo was to test the waters.

Two men ( I named them at the PAC inquiry ), with their faces covered,  featured in the infamous photo that appeared in the local paper at the end of July 2001.

May, June and July 2001 were busy months for the fox ... May,  at Agfest,  a fox allegedly escaped from a machinery container;  on May 15 a fox was allegedly seen crossing Illawarra Road at Longford; this was the catalyst for the June 20th fox summit at which a Police and Ministerial briefing took place.

At this briefing claims were made about the alleged importation of up to 19 fox cubs that were reared and released into Tasmania.

Now we know this importation/release simply didn’t happen and finally the minister of the day has admitted just that.

Two years went by before more “hard evidence” surfaced in the form of the October 2003 Burnie “fox in the box”. This fox was not a roadkill; far from it, it was killed on board and dumped outside the Burnie Port gates.

This event was also discussed at the 2009 PAC Inquiry but came to naught ...too hard, don’t want to go there.

In 2006 things were getting pretty desperate in the fox evidence stakes ... but a Canberra cyclist came to the rescue.  On Christmas day 2005 the lone cyclist allegedly spotted a dead fox cub at the Lillico Penguin viewing platform; however didn’t bother to report it until the 23rd of February 2006.  Claiming that she was not aware that there were no foxes in Tasmania, despite cycling around Tasmania with all the Roadside Fox Free signs up.

This Lillico “roadkill” story has now changed, at the PAC Inquiry it was claimed an anonymous person had shot the cub “somewhere else” and been put at Lillico so “it would be noticed”.

Then on the 1st of August 2006 the $56 million Glen Esk Road, Conara fox came to the rescue ... the “real deal” as reported in the papers ...“real deal” my fat auntie; that fox was planted there and I can prove it;  another “plant” a fake, but worth $56 million dollars of taxpayers’ money.

Carcasses went very quiet after that ... matter of fact we haven’t had one since, some fox DNA contaminated/chicken blood, but no fox.

Fox scats became the number one ticket item, shortly after the ads for hunters to collect and save for fox scats went into mainland magazines in late 2007 we had a sudden fox scat bonanza in Tasmania;  mind you none contained any endemic species and not two scats came from the same fox ... however Australia Post saved the day.

( Download: doc20100818162047.pdf ).

Despite all this “fox evidence” over the past nine years not one single fox has been trapped, shot, recovered from poison baiting or even photographed in situ in Tasmania ... all that ‘fox evidence” but still we ask…

Where is the fox?

Tuesday, Sept 28, Mercury:

Fox force on nose over scats

  HELEN KEMPTON   |  September 28, 2010 08.41am
THE Fox Eradication Taskforce will come under fresh fire in State Parliament today after claims it has been bringing fox scats into Tasmania to train detector dogs without the necessary authorisation.

Windermere MLC Ivan Dean last month asked the Government to prove that the taskforce was authorised to bring in fox scats from interstate.

He said no proof had yet been provided.

“The taskforce has been a law unto itself for too long and it has to stop,” Mr Dean said yesterday.

Information given to the Mercury yesterday shows the fox taskforce was given permission by Tasmania’s Chief Veterinary Officer Rod Andrewartha to bring in fox carcasses and fox products in February 2005 but that authorisation expired five months later.

Last month, the discovery of fox pelts in a Spirit of Tasmania passenger’s luggage triggered warnings from state authorities that the importation of foxes, fox parts and fox products was illegal.

The public was told no fox products could be brought into the state without the special authority of the Chief Veterinary Officer and that fines of up to $12,000 or a year in prison could be applied for breaches.

Animal urine, faeces, bone and blood is classified under the Animal Health Act as animal products.

In 2005, former Fox Taskforce manager Chris Emms was authorised to import fox products under conditions that a copy of the authority accompany the shipment and any faecal material used be disposed of to minimise the risk of transmitting hydatids to Tasmania livestock.

The taskforce has brought in more than 600 fox scats to train scat-detector dogs and concerns about the possible threat to the state’s hydatids-free status have been raised.

“There is great concern in the community that things are not being done according to the book and we want answers,” Mr Dean said.

“The Government is warning the public about the laws relating to bringing fox products into the state without proper authorisation, yet it appears the taskforce is doing the very same thing.”

An advertisement for fox scats in an interstate game hunting magazine warns collectors to wear gloves because of the risk of disease.

Read more HERE

First published: 2010-09-11 07:27 AM