Joint baiting program aims to massively reduce fox numbers

A joint annual fox baiting program being conducted by the Riverina Rural Lands Protection Board (RLPB), Forestry Corporation and the Riverina farming community until Friday 23 September aims to massively reduce fox numbers in the region.

The program, which started in August, involves approximately 2000 Riverina landholders laying poison baits from Tocumwal to Balranald.

Riverina RLPB district veterinarian Dan Salmon said the numbers of participants and enthusiasm for the joint program was rapidly growing.

‘Foxes are a serious threat to livestock production through lamb predation, disease spread and to a lesser extent predation of new born calves,’ he said.

‘We also consider them to be one of the worst environmental vandals in the area extracting a tremendous toll on ground-nesting birds, small native mammals and reptiles.

‘The joint program now in its fourth year has been tremendously well supported by the farmers in the region. Last year, we put out something like 70 000 baits.

‘We have had positive feedback from participants indicating an increase in lamb marking percentages, particularly the survival of twin lambs despite a tough year, and an increase in ground-nesting birds.’

Forestry Corporation operations forester at Deniliquin Mick Lalor said foxes were the main predator of the brush-tailed phascogale as well as other ground-dwelling fauna.

‘The program will drastically reduce the numbers of predators of this small carnivorous mammal that lives predominantly in box woodlands within area,’ he said.

Mr Lalor said Forestry Corporation would be taking special precautions to avoid non-target species that inhabit State forests.

The program is coordinated by about 20 district landholders and board staff Coordinators are responsible for contacting their neighbours and organising the orders for baits and the drop off days.

‘These people are the backbone of the program and are working very hard to tackle what is an enormous problem,’ Mr Salmon said.

The program involves autumn and spring campaigns to hit the foxes at strategic times of their breeding cycles.

People have been advised to have all dogs under control during the baiting program and for several weeks following the program, especially in State forests and travelling stock reserves. Signs have been erected to advise the public of the program in all relevant locations.

Media contacts: Forestry Corporation Sarah Chester on (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669 or Dan Salmon on (03) 5881 1055.