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TWO-YEAR-OLD scats will have to be retested for fox DNA after a false-negative result raised doubts about the accuracy of the original tests.

The Fox Eradication Taskforce yesterday revealed a scat collected in the North-West in February 2010 had been confirmed as being from a fox.

The scat was collected during an investigation of a reported sighting of a fox by a member of the public.

Trained detector dogs reacted to the scat, but analysis by the University of Canberra’s Institute for Applied Ecology found the scat could not have come from a mammal.

But a retest was ordered using an enhanced DNA analysis subsequently developed which finally confirmed the presence of fox DNA in April.

The taskforce did not release the result until now because of the “potential implications” of the development in the testing procedure.

In an email sent to subscribers, the taskforce outlined plans to retest two groups of scats collected between 2008 and 2010.

Of the 20 per cent of scats found to have no mammalian DNA, those found in non-core habitat and collected during post-bait monitoring will be retested.

Yesterday, the department was unable to say how many scats would be retested in total and how much it would cost.

Sceptics have slammed the state government’s eradication efforts, which have been allocated $70 million over 10 years in 2008-09, as minimal evidence of a fox presence has been discovered.

Fox scat test accuracy doubt in The Examiner HERE

On Tasmanian Times: Dr David Obendorf, HERE