For many years authorities have had powers of entry to private property to deal with certified vermin (including foxes and some diseases and weeds) with the only rider being a very high degree of certainty the organism is on that property. Typically powers would be used when dealing with disease outbreaks in stock.
We have been very reluctant to use such powers re foxes because their use invariably aggravates landowners and we are aware that much of what needs to be done about foxes needs landowner cooperation, even enthusiasm. Moreover, many of the properties we cannot get access to for baiting, trapping etc have not let us search them for evidence either so we don’t have evidence foxes are there, despite these places sometimes being bang in the middle of key areas of evidence. Certainly a Catch 22. Landowners themselves tell us this less than ideal situation is partly caused by continued public derision of the program.
Davd Obendorf is only partly right in his summary of baiting where those ‘sexed’ scats were recovered. Of the four sites, only Campbelltown has been baited. The Burnie, Spreyton and Barrington sites are peri-urban and we cannot bait there under current restrictions. These areas are a serious problem and require other, possible less effective solutions. In general, where we bait evidence (when corrected for search effort) has decreased; the problem is doing enough and not knowing how foxes operate in the Tasmanian landscape where they would have very few neighbours but plenty of food and refugia.
Nick Mooney DPIW. A response to Fox scats latest
ALTHOUGH certainly bad news, these new findings David Obendorf has kindly presented, arguably ‘up the ante’ only slightly since for years we have been pretty dang sure there are males and females here. The fox killed at Riverside in 1972 was a young female, the one found fresh-dead on the roadside at Burnie in 2003 was a female in her prime (but not breeding interestingly) and at least two of the other 3 carcasses picked up in Tasmania since 2001 were male. These latest tests results really just underline that earlier impression.