Image for Is native wildlife at risk from fox baits?

One of the questions on the Fox Eradication Program latest Information Sheet: “Is native wildlife at risk from fox baits?”

“The fox baiting program has been carefully designed to specifically target foxes and have a low risk to native wildlife. 1080 (or sodium fluoroacetate) has a high toxicity to foxes but a much lower toxicity to most wildlife. This means a very low dose (3mg) can be used in baits to specifically target foxes while reducing risk to wildlife.

“Other measures ensure that any impact on wildlife from fox baiting is unlikely, including the use of meat-based baits and the burying of baits at widely-spaced intervals.”

What they neglect to tell the Tasmanian public is that the Foxoff(TM) meat baits used by Tasmanian Fox Eradication Program are highly palatable and highly detectable by the digging small macropod, the Tasmanian bettong.

Nor do they state that the Lethal Dose for 50% of Compound 1080 for the Tasmanian bettong is 1mg per kgm body weight. meaning any bettong below 3 kg has a 50% chance of dying from a single bait ingestion - if the bettong weights less than 3 kgm and eats a whole bait, it will die.

The authoritative mammalogy texts on body weight ranges for adult Tasmanian bettong puts them between 1.2 - 2.25 kgm (average 1.7 kgm).

It is also noteworthy that much of the so-called “fox core habitat” that the FEP intends to bait also happens to be the core habitat for the Tasmanian bettong.

What are we trying to eradicate - “the unknown number of foxes present in Tasmania’” or a Tasmanian endemic macropod?