Foxes are a declared pest animal under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019 and the Limestone Coast Landscape Board is committed to reducing the impact of foxes to native wildlife and agriculture.
Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were first introduced to Australia in the 1870s. They have spread to become one of our major vertebrate pests and are a major threat to our livestock and small native mammals, birds and reptiles in townships, agricultural and pastoral areas.A foxes diet consists of one third wildlife, one third pest animals like mice and rabbits and one third livestock.
In South Australia it is the responsibility of landholders to control feral foxes on their properties. It is also illegal to keep foxes as pets.
Managing fox populations in rural areas
The best approach to managing fox problems is through a coordinated fox control program utilising a variety of fox control methods such as ground shooting, baiting and fumigation of dens. Other options may include using guard animals, trapping, exclusion fencing and fox deterrent lights. Most effective control occurs if multiple methods are used and by teaming up with your neighbours in a coordinated approach.
Even when a fox is destroyed, another will move into its territory within a relatively short period of time. Consequently, control work needs to be widespread, timely and continuous, particularly if protecting livestock or native species during their vulnerable periods, such as just after their birth. Coordinated control work carried out in conjunction with neighbouring properties can help to provide wider coverage of control. Timing of control is also an important consideration as foxes are at their most vulnerable during the spring breeding season.
Whilst any effort to reduce feral fox numbers is a benefit to the Limestone Coast landscape, a concentrated neighbourhood baiting program in a condensed period can reduce the fox population significantly whilst limiting the social impact of the baiting. Baiting up to twice a year during early spring when vixens require more food and early autumn is optimal, as young foxes are starting to spread from the den, looking for new territory, food and are easily attracted to baits.
Landscape Officers are able to supply 1080 fox baits, PAPP fox baits, canid pest ejector capsules, and trap hire. Plan early to control foxes by the baiting method as there is an approval and notification process to complete before baiting can be undertaken. It is essential to adhere to directions for use, and this includes a mandatory requirement to notify neighbours of baiting programs and specific distance requirements to assist with safety for dogs, and in some instances wildlife.
The Limestone Coast Landscape Board remind the community to ensure they are implementing ethical and responsible hunting practices and the need to comply with all rules and regulations especially regarding the use of firearms and landholder consent.
For more information, advice, baiting supply options, or for help with organising a fox baiting group in your area contact your local Landscape Officer.
Did you know FoxScan is a free resource for landholders, Landcare groups, community groups, local Councils, professional pest controllers and biosecurity groups. Information you enter can alert local biosecurity authorities and your community about fox activity, and can help to protect domestic and native wildlife from fox activity.
If you are undertaking control, you can use it to document where you are baiting or setting traps for foxes. People are using FoxScan to work together to coordinate control.
Visit FoxScan for more information.