The State Government committed $28 million ($2.8 million per year) and requested that the then Howard Government in Canberra provide an additional $28 million over the same period.
Government biologist, Nick Mooney said the ‘best estimates of fox numbers ranged from several dozen to several hundred.
The 10-year plan envisaged using unpaid volunteers to conduct regular hunts for carnivore scats with back DNA testing of scat to confirm their species identity. The results from what they called “the great poo hunt” would be used to direct efforts for strategic 1080 poison baiting programs with over 40 paid staff funded out of the plan.
By mid-2006, the State Government told the Tasmanian Parliament that it was now obtaining 1080-inpregnated dried meat baits (for fox control) with the trade name, Foxoff™ for its ongoing fox eradication activities. Previously the Government and Fox Taskforce media had identified that it had been using dried kangaroo meat baits laced with 1080 specially prepared by the Western Australian Departments of Agriculture/Conservation & Land Management.
Foxoff Fox baits and Foxoff Econobaits are products marketed by Animal Control Technologies
I read with interest Professor Tony Peacock’s comment that Foxoff™ baits are highly preferred as the bait for fox. If they are manufactured to the same recipe that they were in the late 1990’s then their palatability to foxes as compared to other dried meat/offal baits is substantially lower. In 2001 a paper by Marjolein van Polanen et al entitled: Bait palatability influences the caching behaviour of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) - Wildlife research 28: 395-401, the authors compared three types of (unpoisoned) meat/offal baits for palatability to foxes. They conclude that ‘the deep-fried beef liver was most often eaten (p<0.0001) and Foxoff™ the most often cached (p<0.0001). In these pen trials assessing food preference all foxes preferred to eat all baits other than Foxoff™!
I presume Professor Tony Peacock is aware of this research and its implications.
Clearly Foxoff™ is not a bait of choice to entice foxes to eat 1080-poisoned bait. These researchers showed Foxoff™ was the least palatable, the most cached and more likely to be a hazard to some smaller non-target animals (if they indeed eat them!). Much was made of the observations that spotted tailed quolls ‘rejecting’ Foxoff™ baits but few people realise that this is what foxes do as well!
So why is Foxoff™ used in Tasmania? - there may be a reason that I’m unaware.
Professor Peacock, are you aware of any data that suggests why Tasmania changed to the 1080 bait product (Foxoff™) manufactured and sold by Animal Control Technologies?
Download as document: Compound_1080_(Foxoff)_to_eradicate_Tasmanian_foxes_-_Is_this_realistic_.doc
ON the 14 November 2006, David Llewellyn, Minister for Tasmanian Foxes and Government biologist, Nick Mooney fronted a press conference at which David Llewellyn announced the Tasmanian Government plan to ‘eradicate’ Tasmanian foxes over the next 10 years.