SW fox numbers raise concerns

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Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times

City of Bunbury pest controllers say there has been a spike in the number of foxes caught in some suburbs of the city.

Animal Pest Management Services managing director Mike Butcher, who is the pest animal contractor for the city, said he was surprised by the number of foxes.

“In an area of only about 50 hectares we recorded an uptake of about 26 foxes in one month,” he said.

“That is quite high as in an area of around one square kilometre you would only normally find two or three.

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“To have 26 in one area is quite a substantial amount.”

Mr Butcher said the high number of foxes could have an impact on native animal numbers.

“The disturbing factor of that is the impact on the native animals that are in those relatively small patches of bush,” he said.

“The City of Bunbury will be looking at protecting areas with a high conservation value.

“It goes to show that the control of foxes needs to be an ongoing event rather than once or twice a year.”

Mr Butcher said the city was using a baiting program to control the number of foxes.

“Trapping is used in areas where there is simply too high a risk for domestic animals,” he said.

“With a trap if you accidentally catch a domestic dog you can let him go but with a bait that is not the case.

“We may look at trapping in the future, which is a bit more labour-intensive, but at the moment we are focussing on using baits.”

Mr Butcher said the spike in fox numbers was not limited to Bunbury.

“This rise in numbers is not just in the South West but also in the metropolitan region,” he said.

“I have been working with councils in Rockingham and the Scarborough and Trigg areas.”

“There has certainly been an increase in foxes throughout the suburbs and away from rural areas.”

Mr Butcher urged residents to report any foxes they see to the City of Bunbury.

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