ACCORDING TO the late March posting on the DPIW Fox Eradication Program webpage -

“Six scats collected as part of the Fox Eradication Program’s ongoing monitoring and investigation activities have been identified as fox scats by the University of Canberra’s Institute of Applied Ecology. The scats were among thousands of scats that have been collected by the Program and sent to the University of Canberra for DNA analysis.”

”The fox scats were collected in the St Peters Pass, Campbell Town, Spreyton, Seymour and Gladstone areas between July 2007 and February 2008.”

”Two of the fox scats were located by the specially trained scat detector dogs which joined the Program late last year. These dogs are used to search for evidence of fox activity in ‘hotspot’ areas following investigation activities or the detection of other evidence of fox activity.”

”A further two fox scats were found during initial work for the state-wide carnivore Scat Collection Survey. This project is designed to comprehensively examine all areas of highly suitable fox habitat in Tasmania and gather information that will help identify the location of fox populations.”

“The remaining two fox scats were collected during routine investigations undertaken in response to sighting reports….”

Five DNA positive fox scats were found around the Conara ‘fox hotspot collected during September and October 2006’.

What we haven’t been told is whether the fox-detector dogs have done any useful follow-up reconnaissance in the areas where they found these positive fox scats.

What we haven’t been told is whether the Fox Eradication Program has deployed any infra-red sensor cameras at these fox-scat locations?

Since 2001 there has been no success in producing any images of foxes taken in Tasmania (even from the sensational Old Beach incident in May 2006) or in the recovery of four dead foxes (one allegedly freshly-run over [Glen Esk Road August 2006], one decomposed-run over [Lillico February 2006], one allegedly road-killed fox [Burnie City October 2003] and one decomposed-shot fox [Mr Bosworth’s Symons Plains fox September 2001]) for which the storyline and authenticity of the eye-witness reports, the chain of custody and forensic pathology follow up linking these fox carcasses to the site of recovery are seriously flawed.

According the latest DPIW posting: “It is likely that as the effort intensifies in the search for evidence that it will increase the chances of detecting evidence.”

After seven years of dedicated fox program expenditure & field activities, including broad-scale buried fox baiting activities, this latest report would seem to suggest that evidence of cryptic fox presence still exists in at least four fox ‘hotspot’ areas.

How does the Fox Eradication Program explain the apparent continued presence of foxes in these sites in relation to the use of their preferred eradication tool - namely, buried 1080-meat baits?

Does it suggest that at low fox numbers that buried fox baits aren’t killing resident foxes? If that is the actually correct then the current efforts of the Fox Eradication Program will be futile.

According the latest DPIW posting: “The collection of the six fox scats also reflects the cooperation and support provided by landholders across the state, who allow access to their properties for ongoing monitoring activities.”

So how effective is a Fox Eradication Program that relies on being allowed to access landholder’s properties?

If gaining access to ALL properties for fox eradication activities isn’t mandated by law, how effective can the Fox Eradication Program using the current buried 1080-baits possible be?

Under the current policy, the use of the term ‘Eradication’ - as applied to the DPIW Fox Eradication Program is deceitful and ultimately unachievable.

Under Tasmania’s current fox-killing program, involving the appropriation of large sums of public funds, there can be no confidence that buried 1080-meat baits will ‘eradicate’ foxes in Tasmania. This investment and apparent reliance on the use of such tool for fox ‘eradication’ is - to say the least - deluded.

I am eagerly awaiting the publication of a series of scientific peer-reviewed papers with the detailed ‘Materials & Methods’ sections on all the field activities and evidence of the presence of foxes in Tasmania.

David Obendorf


Since 2001 there has been no success in producing any images of foxes taken in Tasmania (even from the sensational Old Beach incident in May 2006) or in the recovery of four dead foxes (one allegedly freshly-run over [Glen Esk Road August 2006], one decomposed-run over [Lillico February 2006], one allegedly road-killed fox [Burnie City October 2003] and one decomposed-shot fox [Mr Bosworth’s Symons Plains fox September 2001]) for which the storyline and authenticity of the eye-witness reports, the chain of custody and forensic pathology follow up linking these fox carcasses to the site of recovery are seriously flawed.

Under Tasmania’s current fox-killing program, involving the appropriation of large sums of public funds, there can be no confidence that buried 1080-meat baits will ‘eradicate’ foxes in Tasmania. This investment and apparent reliance on the use of such tool for fox ‘eradication’ is - to say the least - deluded.