European red foxes were first introduced to Australia for recreational hunting in 1855. The spread of foxes across southern Australia in the late 1800s and early 1900s coincided with regional extinctions of several species of bettong, the greater bilby, numbat, bridled nail-tail wallaby and the quokka. The Northern Beaches Council is responsible for control programs, but you can also help keep the fox population down.
The Fox Factor
Foxes have adapted well to urbanisation, are skilled hunters and the populations on the Northern Beaches have devastated many species of wildlife including birds, lizards and small mammals. Foxes are responsible for killing pets including cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. Foxes can also carry a number of diseases and parasites that may be transmitted to dogs.
Why Are Foxes a Problem?
Foxes pose a major threat to the survival of many species of native animals. Ground-nesting birds and small to medium-sized mammals are especially at risk. Native animals under pressure from foxes include the southern brown bandicoot, ringtail possum, spotted-tail quoll, little penguin and the long-nosed bandicoot.
Fox Control Programs
The fox control program aims to protect native and domestic animals. Activities include monitoring, baiting, scientific surveys of native animals and community notification. The program has been highly successful and native animals are now returning to habitats where they were once considered locally extinct.
Sydney North Vertebrate Pest Committee
Sydney North Vertebrate Pest Committee was established in 1998. The group comprises of key land managers from across the Sydney North Region including 11 local government agencies, National Parks and Wildlife, Local Land Services, Forestry NSW, Sydney Water, Taronga Zoo and Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. The aim of the group is to share information, raise awareness, educate agency members and the community and develops the skill required to manage feral animals including foxes.
How Are Foxes Controlled?
Foxes are controlled by shooting, baiting, trapping, fumigation and fencing. Due to safety and legal requirements there may be limitations on which techniques are able to be used to effectively control foxes that are sighted in our residential areas.
The fox baiting program involves the use of 1080 poison baits. The community is notified about baiting programs through local newspapers, letters and signage at reserves. The baits are buried in bushland reserves after confirmed fox activity. Strict procedures are followed for baiting to minimise the risk to other animals and domestic pets. If you own a pet, take extra precautions to ensure your animal does not enter reserves during baiting periods.
What Can You Do?
If you see a fox or a fox den, contact Northern Beaches Council. Never feed foxes or leave food scraps or pet food outside. Become familiar with the native animals under threat by foxes. Join a volunteer bushcare group and help protect the habitat of native animals.
Keep Foxes Off Your Property
If you have fox problems or know of foxes near you killing wildlife, let us know.
Foxes and the Law
Predation by the European Red Fox is listed as a key threatening process under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
The Australian Government, in consultation with the states and territories, has developed the Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the European Red Fox.