TASMANIA’S fox eradication taskforce came up with a bizarre plan to import live foxes into Tasmania last year.
Correspondence obtained under right to information laws reveals that the large male foxes were to be released into the wild, with satellite tracking devices attached.
The male foxes were to be part of a research program run by the Government’s controversial fox eradication branch.
The State Opposition immediately slammed the idea as “pure madness”.
Opposition primary industries spokesman Jeremy Rockliff said the revelation that the Government considered introducing foxes into a state that might still be fox-free “beggared belief”’.
Alistair Scott, general manager of Resource Management and Conservation in the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, confirmed last night the plan for live foxes had been on the Government agenda last year. But he said the foxes would have been sterilised and so could not have bred in the wild.
Mr Scott said no live foxes had been brought into Tasmania by the Fox Eradication Program last year.
“The Fox Eradication Program continually looks for new methods and measures that may assist the eradication effort, as well as the understanding of the impact of foxes and their behaviour in the Tasmanian environment,” Mr Scott said.
“A proposal was put forward to look at a trial of radio-tracking a small number of sterilised foxes in the Tasmanian environment to determine if it could provide significant information to assist the eradication effort.
“The proposal was considered last year but there are no plans for it to proceed.”
Emails show another proposal was considered to keep live foxes captive in Tasmanian research laboratories for the production of fresh fox scats for use by the Fox Eradication Program.
Mr Rockliff fears the new revelations will only encourage greater community scepticism about the motives and need for the expensive eradication program in Tasmania.
Some 41 staff now work for the Fox Eradicaton Program.
No live fox has been trapped in the state ...