Image for Farms snub fox bait layers

LAND owners are fighting plans to lay 1080 fox baits on land in one of Tasmania’s last healthy Tasmanian devil strongholds.

The Fox Eradication Program has asked the VDL Company which owns Woolnorth, a massive dairy and beef property on Tasmania’s far North-West tip, to let it lay fox baits.

Other landowners from Marrawah to Arthur River in the Tarkine have also been asked to provide access to fox baiters.

There was a reported sighting at Cape Grim weather station, on Woolnorth.

VDL Company chief executive Nicola Morris said she refused the baiting request because of concerns about potential impacts on the devils that live and feed in the area.

“I have found out nothing to change that mindset,” she said yesterday.

“Woolnorth is home to one of the last remaining healthy Tasmanian devil populations.”

Ms Morris said she had never seen a fox at Woolnorth.

“I would not profess to say foxes are here or not,” she said.

“But we are currently working with the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program to look at the feasibility of getting the property fenced to further protect the devil.

“Why would you want to do anything which might potentially further endanger an endangered species?”

However, wildlife tour operator Geoff King said he and other land owners had agreed to allow fox baits.

“I have taken the advice of the fox taskforce scientists on the impact of the baits on the devil and will allow the baits to be laid,” Mr King said.

About 800 baits have already been put down across 15,000ha in a baiting blitz by the Fox Eradication Program.

Baiters are also consulting Huon Valley landowners and some have refused to give fox hunters access to their land in fear of dogs and other animals being killed or injured.

By the end of the blitz in 2015, baits will have been spread across three million hectares of farms, woodlands and grasslands.

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