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Publications archive - Biodiversity

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the European Red Fox

Biodiversity Group Environment Australia, 1999
0 642 2546320

Executive Summary

The European red fox is an adaptable and elusive predator and scavenger which, despite vigorous control efforts, is now common throughout most of the southern half of mainland Australia. There is abundant evidence that predation by foxes is a major threat to the survival of native fauna. Small to medium-sized ground-dwelling mammals and ground-nesting birds, many of which are endangered or vulnerable, are at greatest risk.

‘Predation by the European red fox’ is listed as a key threatening process under Schedule 3 of the Commonwealth Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 (the Act). The Act requires the preparation and implementation of a threat abatement plan to nationally coordinate management of the impact of fox predation on wildlife.

Eradication of foxes on the mainland is not possible but there are effective methods for reducing fox numbers and predation on wildlife in significant areas. The plan aims to reduce the impact of fox predation on native wildlife over a five-year period by:

  • implementing fox control programs in specific areas of high conservation priority;
  • encouraging the development and use of innovative and humane control methods for fox management;
  • educating land managers and relevant organisations to improve their knowledge of fox impacts and ensure skilled and effective participation in control activities; and
  • collecting and disseminating information to improve our understanding of the ecology of foxes in Australia, their impacts and methods to control them.

The strategy advocated in the implementation and further development of this threat abatement plan involves the use of conventional methods such as baiting and fencing to control foxes in manageable areas critical to threatened species conservation. In implementing these controls close links will be established with species recovery plans, other threat abatement plans and with existing State programs. Animal welfare issues will be specifically addressed during the application of conventional control methods. Measures will also be implemented to ensure that foxes do not become established on important islands which are currently fox free.

The five-year life of this plan is seen as consolidating and coordinating the long-term process of managing fox impacts on native fauna. The main priority during this period is to support on-ground control programs necessary to ensure recovery of endangered species.

Fox control will have to continue for the foreseeable future and the costs of control will be significant. This plan therefore establishes a framework which will enable the best use to be made of resources. The Commonwealth contribution to implementation of the plan will be delivered primarily through the programs of the Natural Heritage Trust.

Published June 1999 by Environment Australia under the Natural Heritage Trust.

Commonwealth of Australia