Prize winner plans to keep up 'vital' baiting

Landholder Ebba Holschier on her farm with a fox baiting sign and banner from Elders, her supplier of choice for the prize.The recent winner of the grand prize in Murray Local Land Services’ Fox Dog Lotto competition has today urged farmers to continue fox baiting.

As farms continue to get bigger and the number of farmers gets smaller, Ebba Holschier and her husband Stephen believe it’s vital to continue fox baiting on their land.

“As farms are getting larger, there are fewer farmers to bait,” she said. “So, we like to think our efforts are really important in keeping foxes in check.”

Ebba was awarded the grand prize in Murray Local Land Services’ Fox Dog Lotto competition for her work around baiting, picking up a $2,000 voucher from Elders.

The Holschiers, who run a fifth-generation sheep and cropping enterprise at Womboota, north-west of Moama, have already invested wisely, putting the money towards a new wool press.

Fox Dog Lotto is an annual competition that offers a weekly prize of a bag of dog food and entry to the grand prize of a $2,000 voucher from a rural supplier of the winner’s choice, drawn in spring.

Ebba said they bait for foxes to protect their livestock, but also to help preserve native wildlife, like the ground-nesting quails and other birds they see on their property, as well as turtles and small native mammals.

“We’re quite close to the Koondrook-Perricoota forest and we know that baiting takes place in there,” she said. “We like to think we’re helping the forest and are part of a community effort.”

The Holschiers have a plantation of saltbush on their 2500 ha property, put in to manage a salinity problem, but have found that it has become a haven for foxes.

“It’s impossible to go in and try to shoot them, so baiting is the best strategy for us,” Ebba said, adding that neighbours on surrounding farms are also undertaking the practice.

“We have really good neighbours. I would say that they all fox bait around 80 per cent of the time,” she said.

“The more people that do it, the fewer foxes we’ll have, so we need to keep going.”

That is a central principle of Murray Local Land Services’ biannual Feral Fighters fox baiting program: group baiting across numerous properties is the most effective strategy to curb fox populations.

“This is a great example of the kind of community participation we’re aiming for in our fox baiting programs,” said Peter O’Shannassy, Invasive Species Team Leader.

“Congratulations to the Holschiers who, along with their neighbours, are integral to the success of our ongoing fight against feral pest animals like foxes.”

ENDS

Media contact: Matt Lane, Communications, 0427 459 755, matt.g.lane@lls.nsw.gov.au

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