Community must work together to control fox population

Experts knew the fox population in Menangle was significant, but they didn’t know just how significant.

The first stage of Local Land Services’ Menangle Fox Control program saw the installation of a slew of cameras on properties in the area.

Program coordinator Dr Alison Towerton told the Advertiser she was surprised at what the cameras picked up: fox sightings at 90 per cent of the camera locations.

“It was a bit higher than I was expecting,” she said.

“We knew fox sightings were at a high in urban areas so it was important we could detect them in peri-rural areas.”

The second stage of the control program encourages property owners work together and develop a coordinated baiting program.

Local Land Services hopes groups of up to five neighbouring properties will agree to a baiting program for a period of two years.

Dr Towerton said it was vital to keep the fox population in check.

“It is important to the community and us at Local Land Services to keep the fox population under control,” she said.

“We’ve seen the impacts foxes can have on farms.

“They attack chooks and there’s been some interesting research done on how they affect cattle as well.

“Foxes also jeopardise several native species.”

Dr Towerton said a strong, community-based and community-supported strategy to address fox numbers was needed.

“Landholders all need to work together to reduce the population,” she said.

“We’ll never eradicate them but we can hope to minimise them.”

Menangle and surrounding residents can learn even more about how they can contribute to the fox control campaign at a community meeting next week.

A similar meeting last year proved successful for Local Land Services.

“Last year we signed up 12 landholders to the campaign, engaged more than 40 community members through public meetings and carried out monitoring at 34 sites across 17 properties using motion activated cameras throughout the region,” Dr Towerton said.

“Our cameras recorded foxes at 90 per cent of the monitored sites – that is the very reason why it is so important our control methods cover as many hectares as possible and we can’t do that without community involvement.”

The next public meeting will be held at Cawdor Public School on Wednesday, March 22 from 7pm-9pm.

Details: Dr Alison Towerton, 4724 2128 or menangle.fox@gmail.com.​

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