Steve
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Foxes in Australia

Australia has the worst record for recent mammal extinction of any continent.  I would note that this statement particularly applies to the mainland.  Tasmania has a better record with the only mammal species believed to be extinct being the Thylacine.

There are many factors contributing to this terrible record.  It is unfair to blame the European Fox, Vulpes vulpes.

Fox Introduction

Foxes did not ask to be brought to Australia.  In their native areas they are part of the ecology. They were brought here several times in the nineteenth century.  They were certainly introduced into Victoria near Melbourne in 1845 although earlier introductions may have occurred.

They were brought into Australia for recreational hunting.  It is sometimes stated that they were brought in for Rabbit control, but Wild Rabbits were not introduced until 1859.  The spread of the Fox was aided by people taking them to other areas, and some of these secondary introductions might have been for Rabbit control.

The real culprits were those people who wanted to recreate an English society in Australia and failed to recognise the unique gem of a country under their noses.

They are Here Now

However, Foxes are here now and they are probably the worst of all the introduced animals in their effect on Australia‚Äôs unique wildlife.  It is no good me condemning the people who brought them here many years ago.  The Foxes need to be handled now.

Fox Control

In the areas where a serious effort has been made to control Foxes over a large area, the native animals are making a comeback from the brink of extinction.

Cruelty

I do not like the killing of animals; I do not even eat them.  Many of the methods that have been used to control Foxes must have caused some distress to these intelligent animals.  Personally, although I recognise the need for Fox control, I am not really in favour of it. 

I support the total extermination of all foxes in Australia. I would note that killing animals is not the only way of exterminating them.  Birth control is another, more humane way.

Researchers on Cane Toads have come up with several innovative possible ways of controlling Cane Toads, and they rightly point out that some of these could be used to control other pests including Foxes.

Foxes in Tasmania

One of the reasons that Tasmania has a much better record of retaining their native animals than the rest of Australia is that it had no Foxes.

In about 2001 Foxes were deliberately introduced to Tasmania.  I wonder about the sanity of the person who did this.

Extermination

The Tasmanian government is planning to get rid of all the foxes in the state.  The state government has been given 1 million dollars in federal assistance to do this.  Clearly this will not be enough, but at least the decision had been made.

Cost

Nationally the cost to farmers and others from losses due to Foxes has been estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

When a regional fox control program has been implemented, farmers have found the economic advantages to far outweigh the cost.

National Extermination

We need a national approach to the total extermination of this introduced animal.

Sources

http://www.animalcontrol.com.au/foxes.htm

http://www.thefoxwebsite.org/populations/australia.html

http://library.thinkquest.org/03oct/00128/en/foxes/history.htm

http://www.animalpest.com.au/PDF/foxes.pdf