Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Managing foxes in urban and semi-urban areas

Posted on 28 March, 2019 by Ivan

Connecting Country often hears concerns from landholders and other community members about the impacts of local fox populations. Here is some information about foxes in urban and semi-urban areas, and some tips about what you can do to help keep fox numbers under control and reduce their impacts on native wildlife and livestock.

Foxes are one of Australia’s most serious pest animals and are often seen in townships and semi-urban areas, where their food sources are easy to come by. Foxes are known to prey on native animals and livestock, and are a huge threat to many of our threatened birds, mammals, and other wildlife. They have also been estimated to have an annual economic impact of over $227 million dollars across Australia.

It may be hard to imagine, but fox densities are higher in urban and semi-urban areas than rural areas, with highest densities in Victoria existing in Port Melbourne! There are a limited number of control and deterrent methods available to landowners in urban areas, where poisoning and shooting are not an option.

Effective fox management uses a combination of the available control measures that are feasible on your property. These may include a combination of the following control methods:

  • Harbour removal: Foxes often make dens under metal piles or blackberry and gorse bushes. Fallen timber can act as harbour, but it is also important habitat for lots of native wildlife, so be careful if you decide to move it.
  • Den fumigation and ripping: This involves fumigating the den and then using machinery or tools to destroy the den complex (by a qualified contractor).
  • Property hygiene: Ensuring food scraps, animal carcasses and pet food are secure will avoid attracting foxes.
  • Exclusion fencing: Large and secure fencing to prevent foxes from entering your property.
  • Guardian animals: Some producers have successfully used trained guard dogs (e.g., Anatolian shepherds, Maremma sheep dogs) to protect their flocks from fox predation. The presence of domestic dogs may discourage foxes from visiting suburban back yards.

Foxes can often be seen during the middle of the day in urban areas hunting for food (Photo source: Agriculture Victoria)

Unfortunately, fox populations are very resilient to conventional methods of control and can quickly breed up to infest areas where they have been removed. One issue with controlling or deterring foxes on smaller properties is that foxes are highly mobile and can travel up to 10 km per night. Another important point to remember is that rabbits form a major part of fox diets, therefore controlling rabbits on your property may also help to reduce the number of foxes in the area.

For more information on invasive animals, please visit the Agriculture Victoria Website by clicking here.

A fox caught on a motion sensor camera next to its den (photo source: Agriculture Victoria)

 

 

 

 

Reminder to register: Camp Out on the Mount 2019

Posted on 21 March, 2019 by Ivan

Just a reminder to register for the Camp Out on the Mount 2019!

CLICK HERE to visit the booking website and register for this free event. This helps us to prepare for the right amount of people for each activity and create a fun environment for all (and provide plenty of food!). Updates will also be emailed to all who register closer to the weekend, with further information on activities and what to expect.

For more information, CLICK HERE to visit our web page about this year’s Camp Out.

When: Saturday 6 – Sunday 7 April 2019
Where: Leanganook Camping Ground, Joseph Young Drive, Mount Alexander Regional Park, Faraday VIC
What to bring: Camping gear and supplies, food for Sunday breakfast, gold coin donation or Saturday night BBQ, weather-appropriate clothes, sturdy shoes and sun protection.

If you have any questions, please call Asha on (03) 5472 1594 or email asha@connectingcountry.org.au

 

Local couple donate $1 million for vital habitat links

Posted on 21 March, 2019 by Ivan

In a major act of biodiversity kindness and long-term vision, local residents Caroline and Terry Bellair have donated savings of $1 million to Bush Heritage Australia to convert private property into nature reserves and help create habitat links for plants and animals to adapt to a changing climate. Terry and Caroline are members of Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare and cherish their local environment and the achievements of their active Landcare group.

Some of the inspiration for the couple came after hearing Jeroen van Veen from Bush Heritage talk at an event organised by Connecting Country in Campbells Creek in 2018, called ‘Planting for the Future’ – part of our ‘Future-Proof your Restoration’ series. This event featured three guest speakers on the topic of adapting to a changing climate (click here for details). Jeroen spoke about Bush Heritage’s private property conservation program and some of the amazing outcomes the organisation has achieved through purchasing private properties with high conservation value. For example, Bush Heritage is working to link up isolated bits of habitat around St Arnaud and Wedderburn in northwest Victoria. Habitat fragmentation is a huge conservation challenge, with many areas of forest cleared for farming and mining, resulting in small, disconnected habitat havens and climate refuges.

The day after the Connecting Country event, the family began the process of donating a million dollars to Bush Heritage. The original plan was a bequest in their will, but that was soon changed to an immediate donation, allowing them to see the impacts of the Bush Heritage purchase. Over 15 years, Bush Heritage has bought more than 1,500 hectares to connect habitat in the Kara Kara-Wedderburn Landscape.

Bush Heritage also hopes to buy another nearby block with the Bellair donation, on top of the 203 hectare block near Emu, which will help form a chain between Wedderburn and the Kara Kara National Park.

For more information on the Bellair’s generous donation, click here.

Caroline and Terry Bellair have donated a generous and long-lasting gift to the planet. (Source: Meredith O’Shea, The Age)