WA farmers have begun a massive assault on foxes, which cause an estimated $200 million nation-wide in damage each year. More than 60 groups from Dowerin to Southern Cross to Esperance have joined the “Red Card for the Red Fox” campaign. The program began in late February with the first of a series of fox shoots to complement the long-standing 1080 baiting program. Central coordinator Sally Thomson said farmers across the state worked into the early hours of the morning surveying their properties to cull fox and other feral pest numbers. “From the weekend’s results gathered so far, it’s anticipated that the 18 community groups that took part in the shoot have culled over 2300 foxes, 700 rabbits and about 120 feral cats – as well as wild pigs and wild dogs,” Sally Thomson said. The Shire of West Arthur has reported the biggest result so far, with 11 teams working through the night to tally up 240 foxes, 8 feral cats, 84 rabbits and 8 feral pigs. “This sends a strong message to the community about the pest numbers around, and highlights the importance and value of the farmers in coordinating their efforts,” Sally Thomson said. Each year foxes kill 700,000 lambs and devour native wildlife, making the fox one of the country’s most destructive pests. Effective fox control has become more difficult with the increase in farm sizes stretching farmer workloads, while the establishment of forestry plantations has provided breeding grounds. “While it’s a long night for everyone, the fact that we are all in the same boat and working towards the same goal of protecting our sheep and wildlife makes it worthwhile,” Wagin farmer Raymond Edward said. Many farmers were also motivated by Stockbrands Co. which is supporting the culling program and donating funds to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Farmer attention now turns to the 1080 baiting program, where baits will be laid by accredited landholders throughout the month of March. “Landholders should be commended for their commitment to controlling these agricultural and environmental pests,” Sally Thomson said. “It’s not a cheap exercise considering farmers generally pay for the equipment required, and then there is the time involved in carrying out the culling activities”. For further information please contact the coordinator in your area or the Central Coordinator on 0417 983 356.
Caption: Farmers from Kellerberrin and Bruce Rock contributed 140 foxes and 12 feral cats to the statewide pest control effort