Image for $5000 Fox Reward ends ... ‘Mystery of the missing fox bait’

After 50 months a genuine Tasmanian fox has not been presented to claim the Tasmanian Times Fox Reward (HERE).

The editor’s closure of the most recent fox article (HERE)  is an opportune time to also terminate the Reward which was to end on 31 December 2010.  In any event, a honest hunter in Tasmania could generate far more than $5000 by going to the media and the Government with just one genuine Tasmanian fox.

The original Fox Reward article has posted well in excess of 500 comments since it began in 2006. Tasmanian Times now has probably the most comprehensive archive of Tasmanian history - in the form of articles and comments from readers.

The Fox Eradication Program and its fore-runner the Fox-Free Taskforce repeatedly stated that the reason Tasmanians were not coming forward publicly especially after the discovery of dead foxes was because of the fear of being ridiculed; it has been reiterated over and over again and yet it makes no sense. 

Tasmania’s decade-long ‘war on foxes’ has produced many newspaper reports (the latest, below) around the latest recoveries of fox body parts or scats or controversy over what that ‘evidence’ actually amounts to.

In my opinion the government program to prevent this unwanted species entering, establishing and spreading in Tasmania has been deeply flawed from the initial assessment of the trigger incidents in 1998 and 2001 through to the implementation of the program to ‘eradicate’ any foxes living in Tasmania.

The onus of proof has always been with DPIPWE’s Fox Eradication Program. Numerous fox biologists have asked simple questions - Where are the Tasmanian foxes?; How did they get here?; What is the irrefutable and compelling proof that shows live foxes - not dead ones - are now breeding successfully in Tasmania?

Many Tasmanians are left questioning whether recovery of fox body parts (dead foxes and a skull) or fox faeces (scats) can be the foundation for a full-blown, decade-long fox ‘eradication’ program.

In last week’s Tasmanian Country the acting-manager Robbie Gaffney has asked for the “foundational evidence” to support claims that “fraudulent activities” using imported fox body parts constitutes all the fox evidence collected to date. In addition his Department needs to present their “foundational evidence” to demonstrate that foxes are reproducing in Tasmania; for like all truth-based compelling science, it should be able to withstand critical examination.

Finally DPIPWE must explain precisely how a rolling program of buried 1080-baits applied incompletely over landscapes defined by FEP as ‘core fox habitat’  - up to 3 million hectares - can successfully eradicate an animal that seems too elusive to even discover where they are living and reproducing. 

The government knows that so long as they control the knowledge of the fox history and the discovery-process there will be no opportunity for Tasmania’s fox program to be properly scrutinised.

David Obendorf

[Registered veterinarian]


MORE than one in five baits laid in the first months of a planned three-year statewide poison attack on foxes have disappeared, but it remains unclear what’s taking the bait.

Early results from the fox baiting program show 462 baits out of the 2038 laid across 41,000 hectares of core fox habitat in the South have been taken.

No fox carcasses have been found since the baits were laid in May.

A new baiting front is expected to start from the North- West early next year.

Critics have called for closer monitoring to determine what animals are taking the baits and their impact.

The Fox Eradication Program buries dried or processed meat contaminated with the poison 1080, a method they say attracts foxes but is less desirable to native animals.

But veterinarian David Obendorf said he feared the dose used would be enough to kill eastern quolls and bandicoots.

Full Examiner story HERE

Earlier on Tasmanian Times:
Dr David Obendorf
Dr Clive Marks:
The Elephant in the Living Room and the Ghostly Presence
The Fox that Wasn’t There?