FOXES are highly adaptable, resilient and cunning. These pests can consume thousands of native animals every year.
The good news is that you can do your bit to support Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and Surf Coast Shire council’s efforts to deter these predatory pests by removing food and shelter from your property.
Foxes have been declared as “established invasive animals” by the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, preying on both native wildlife and livestock.
The predators are considered a threat to 14 species of birds, 48 mammals, 12 reptiles and two species of amphibians.
Surf Coast mayor Rose Hodge said foxes were opportunistic, meaning people could easily unwittingly feed or shelter the pests.
“Within our coastal environments and around our homes, there is an abundance of food available for foxes,” Cr Hodge said.
“We can all help reduce these food sources by minimising the amount of food left outside, particularly overnight, by covering compost, ensuring rubbish bins are fully closed and cleaning up fallen fruit regularly.”
GORCC environmental projects co-ordinator Alex MacDonald said homeowners should remove structures around their property where foxes may seek refuge or shelter including woody weeds such as boxthorn and blackberries, rubbish piles and old machinery.
“Fencing off rock piles, building materials, hay bales, woodpiles, and underneath houses will also help reduce hiding places foxes can live in,”
GORCC and council are working together to reduce fox numbers on the coast, with GORCC leading intensive on-ground eradication efforts and monitoring programs in coastal areas with council funding support.
Council also runs separate fox eradication initiatives on land it manages as part of its annual pest plant and animal programs “Fox control requires an ongoing effort and our best chance of reducing numbers on the Surf Coast is for communities and land managers to work together,” Ms MacDonald said.
Foxes are a particular threat to local, beach nesting hooded plovers, with the predators thought to have been behind the disappearance of multiple chicks, eggs and adult birds over the past two years.
“Point Impossible, Point Roadknight and Moggs Creek are being particularly targeted as these sites are known hooded plover breeding zones,” Ms MacDonald said.
For more information on pests on the coast and how you can help, visit gorcc.com.au or surfcoast.vic.gov.au.