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Fox damage - an overview


 
Foxes are Australia’s number one predator threatening the survival of native wildlife and many currently threatened species. They have been estimated to cause over $227 million damage to Australia’s agricultural industries and our environment each year through predation of livestock and native wildlife. Foxes are listed in the World Conservation Union's list of 100 of the worst invasive species, and they are listed as a key threatening process for biodiversity under the Commonwealth's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). The management of foxes also imposes considerable ongoing costs to individual farmers, agribusiness, governments, research institutes, and communities. In order to reduce fox populations and the problems they cause, many experts argue we need greater continuity of control actions, increased group control efforts, and improved knowledge of fox populations across the Australian landscape.

Foxes as agricultural pests:

  • prey on and cause physical injuries to livestock, such as newborn lambs and kid goats - predation of lambs may be as high as 30% of the flock
  • prey on poultry, ducks and other small farmed animals
  • promote the colonisation and spread of agricultural weeds
  • spread parasites and some diseases
  • may pose a risk as potential hosts of rabies if accidentally introduced to Australia - which may threaten human and animal health
  • are a nuisance and disease threat to farm dogs.

Foxes as environmental pests:

  • prey on native wildlife and are implicated in the decline and extinction of many ground-dwelling mammals
  • threatens ground-nesting birds, small-medium sized mammals, and island fauna
  • hinders threatened species recovery and re-introduction programs
  • spread diseases that affect native fauna
  • promote and spread weeds that adversely affect ecological communities.

Foxes as urban pests:

  • foxes threaten urban wildlife populations and biodiversity
  • disturb or kill small domestic pets (such as rabbits, guinea pigs, poultry and aviary birds) as well as lambs and kid goats
  • scavenge through rubbish bins and at waste facilities
  • are a potential reservoir for disease/parasites including hydatids 
  • are a nuisance animal in residential areas - mostly through vocalisations and scavenging through rubbish, eating pet food, and burrowing under fences. 

National Fox Threat Abatement Plan (TAP)

The damage foxes cause to the environment is so significant that “Predation by the European Red Fox" is listed as a key threatening process for biodiversity conservation, and a national Threat Abatement Plan (TAP) has been developed to help communities manage the problems caused by foxes. The national Fox TAP aims to reduce the impact of foxes on biodiversity in Australia by protecting affected native species and ecological communities, and preventing further species and ecological communities from being threatened. FoxScan aims to support the goals of the Fox TAP. 

More about foxes

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