Jason Littlefair, Sheila Howat and Bronwyn Mitchell with a fox trap on Mrs Mitchell’s property
Foxes continue to be a problem in the Bridgetown Greenbushes area, killing small farm animals and having a huge impact on native wildlife.
Bronwyn Mitchell has a problem with foxes killing her ducks on her 40-hectare property on the outskirts of town.
While her neighbours help when they can, they’re not always readily available, so she calls on Blackwood Biosecurity to control the feral pests.
“It’s wonderful to be able to ring and get help,” Mrs Mitchell said.
On a recent visit they killed seven in the first day alone.
Foxes are intelligent and agile and can climb trees and fences and do quite a bit of damage.
Blackwood Biosecurity provides traps to landholders and is starting a scheme to provide early set traps. Trapped animals are then shot as humanely as possible.
But trapping’s not the only solution. They’re also shot out in the open by expert marksmen.
Sound lures that mimic the sound of distressed animals are being used to attract them.
“It’s a one-shot humane kill, we don’t want to wound them,” Ms Howat said.
The foxes are getting smart and will move their eyes away from spotlights to avoid giving off the tell-tale glare from them. They can’t hide from thermal gun sights, however.
The fox problem is worse this year, Ms Howat says.
Poison is another weapon in the fight against ferals.
1080, or Sodium fluoroacetate, is an extremely effective bait against foxes, but with no antidote people are reluctant to use it, according to Ms Howat.
However, Blackwood Biosecurity offers training and licensing at half-price so that licensed users can employ it as safely as possible against foxes, rabbits, wild dogs and feral pigs.
Rabbits are also a big problem, especially in Bridgetown’s sub-divisions where there are limited options to control them.
It’s a populated area, so shooting is out of the question, and calicivirus has had mixed results, though tissue samples have confirmed that it’s present in rabbits.
Unlike 1080, Pindone baits at least have an antidote, but must still be used extremely carefully.
Exclusion fencing is another option, but if people are having trouble with rabbits Blackwood Biosecurity’s Jason Littlefair is available to come out and assess the problem and provide some solutions – you just need to ask.