Pest control programs have successfully reduced the number of foxes in urban areas over the past 12 months in Sydney.
After foxes were identified as major pests in NSW last year, 15 councils in inner, eastern and southern Sydney launched the pest control project.
According to the NSW Local Land Services, foxes play a significant role in the decline of Australia’s native wildlife and predators to lambs, poultry, and goat kids.
It is estimated that the Australian government will spend at least $10-20 million controlling introduced species, the six “most wanted” being foxes, dingoes, cats, rabbits, pigs and goats.
Poison is used to control foxes, the main poison being the pesticide 1080, as well as other methods include luring and trapping.
Despite their feral reputation, foxes can be as much a part of the family as a cat or dog. Sydney Fox Rescue (SFR) is a unique charity that aims to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome foxes.
Since legislative changes in December 2014, SFR has not been able to rehome foxes. The charity is working to overturn this legislation and serves a sanctuary for the foxes. SFR work to remove injured or orphaned foxes from the wild and the foxes are never released back into the wild, to ensure foxes are not predators to native wildlife or the livestock industry.
As foxes are not native to Australia they are not cared for by native animal organisations such as WIRES or companion organisations such as the RSPCA.
The Mini Kitty Commune (MKC) is a not for profit charity that believes in advocating for and protecting stray cats, who are under threat by Sydney councils.
MKC is a no-kill organisation and when space permits, they take in stray or feral cats.
Founder of MKC, Melanie Bradshaw-Dunn, acknowledged that there is a “feral” cat problem in Australia, however, MKC does not believe the control methods used are humane.
“We don’t deny there is a feral cat problem in Australia but they cannot be blamed alone for the decimation of native species and the methods proposed to control them are cruel and proven to be ineffective.”
“In outback areas, apex predators could be reintroduced to reduce the effects of feral cats,
“For example dingo’s feed on different animals to cats and if dingoes are present, cats will not enter that area which allows natives a safe haven to breed and procreate. Sadly our government isn’t interested in humane or compassionate solutions.”
Appointed in July 2014, Gregory Andrews is Australia’s first Threatened Species Commissioner.
Mr Andrews is currently conducting a National Feral Cat Control survey, to determine how the public believes street cats should be handled.
In a statement on Facebook, Mr Andrews said “I want to be crystal clear that urban and peri-urban cats like these are not being targeted as part of the Threatened Species Strategy. The strategy and feral cat targets are focused on feral cats in the bush…these cats live in the drains and I’ve seen them hunting red-rumped parrots.”
“We’ve already lost at least 20 mammals to feral cats and at least another 124 remarkable Australian animals are at risk,” he said.
— Gregory Andrews (@TSCommissioner) August 11, 2016
Sydney Fox Rescue, The Mini Kitty Commune, and their supporters say they will continue to fight plans to cull stray cats and foxes, among other predators. – Ashleigh Cant.
Photo from the Sydney Fox Rescue Facebook Page.