Menangle fox campaign
The Menangle fox campaign reduces the impacts of foxes on livestock and native wildlife across the landscape by coordinating control activities twice a year.
For more information contact Dr Alison Towerton on (02) 4724 2128, 0457 511 715 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This campaign has been assisted by the Australian Government through it's National Landcare Programme.
About the program
Managing foxes in South West Sydney - reducing impacts on livestock and native wildlife
The Menangle Fox Control Group (MFCG) has been formed to coordinate a landscape approach to managing foxes. The primary objective of the campaign is to protect both livestock and wildlife. The idea focuses on space and time, to get as many landholders (rural and residential) to use multiple management methods, operating twice a year (autumn and spring), leaving no gaps across the campaign area.
Foxes will never be eradicated from the area as new foxes will move in from any uncontrolled surrounding (or within) areas. However, this ongoing approach aims to have the largest impact upon the fox population. Group members are encouraged to participate in the campaign by committing to the program for five years.
This can involve baiting or using traps on your property to directly control foxes, or by following some simple tips as listed below to reduce fox problems.
Community members can also be involved in the citizen science project associated with the campaign such as borrowing remote cameras to see what animals are in their backyard or paddock, tagging monitoring photos or listening to wildlife recordings from the area to monitor species at risk from foxes.
Simple tips to reduce fox problems
- Don’t leave pet food outside overnight and never feed foxes
- Use enclosed compost bins
- Keep domestic animals secure at night
- Remove fallen fruit around fruit trees
- Keep garbage bins covered
- Block entry points to drains
- Close off access to underneath buildings
- Use fox-proof enclosures for poultry
- Turn-off outside lights that might attract insects
- Reduce weeds that provide food and shelter, such as african olive and blackberries
- Don’t feed native wildlife as they will become more vulnerable to predators
- Record sightings in FoxScan.
FeralScan (www.feralscan.org.au) is a website and a smart phone app that allows pest animal observations to be mapped, as well as damage such as sheep or poultry attacks, caused by these pest animals to be recorded. More importantly to this campaign, control activities can also be mapped, helping the group to better plan and improve fox management (FoxScan) as well as the control of rabbits (RabbitScan).
Campaign participants are asked to diligently use FeralScan to record all activities to enable reporting and continuous improvement of the campaign. Register online at FeralScan before using the website or FoxScan app.
Greater Sydney Local Land Services runs 1080 / Pindone training courses across the region. Completion of the course allows participants who are able to bait on their property with the accreditation required to do so. The cost is $50, however free for a small number of eligible landholders within the MFC area. Register your interest here
Remote cameras are widely used to monitor animals including pest species such as foxes. As foxes are so elusive, people are often unaware that foxes visit their backyard. If you are interested in setting up a camera on your property, they can be borrowed from the MFCG. Register your interest here
Properties that are unable to use poison baits may consider trying a Cage Trap to catch foxes. Generally foxes are difficult to catch in cage traps, however with some effort trying different setups and lures, plus a lot of patience, you may have success. A small number of cage traps will be available for loan from the MFCG.
Recently four foxes were trapped within a month in the Bankstown Council area. A remote camera setup at the trap will also help to see how a fox interacts with the trap. In order to borrow a trap, we can help you be trained in its use, obtain a permit to transport the fox if necessary and organise a way of humanely euthanising and disposing of the carcass. Register your interest here.
Diseases spread by foxes
In regards to diseases, Neospora caninum is a microscopic parasite which causes abortions in both dairy and beef cattle. Cattle (intermediate hosts) are infected by ingesting feral fox or dog faeces which are infected with N. caninum oocysts (eggs), through either water or feed sources or via contaminated soil.
Adult cows which are infected with N. caninum show no clinical signs of illness. However infected pregnant cows can pass the infection onto the foetus via the placenta. Cows will either abort their foetus between 4 and 7 months pregnant or calves will be born clinically normal, but will have an 80-90% chance of being N. caninum carriers themselves.
Blood tests are now available to detect the N. caninum parasite. Producers within the Menangle area are currently conducting whole herd blood tests in order to calculate the percentage of their herd which is infected.
N. caninum, Canine distemper and Hydatid disease are among a number of diseases which feral foxes are known to carry. Therefore, it is increasingly important that both the general public and livestock producers manage feral foxes on their property.
Many resources exist which help to easily access additional information on pest species and their management.
PestSmart Connect (http://www.pestsmart.org.au/) is a web-based toolkit of information on best practice pest animal management in Australia.
NRM Notes is a newsletter designed to keep all Australian NRM regions up to date with the latest developments and current projects associated with invasive animal research.
The Feral Flyer is the fortnightly e-newsletter of the Invasive Animals CRC.