Fox activity along Warrnambool’s foreshore was more than halved following a baiting program earlier this year, with a second phase to focus on remaining hotspots.
In an attempt to protect native bird and animal species, Council will carry out a fox baiting program from October 4 to November 15, 2021.
Bait will be buried in the coastal reserve around Pickering Point, Thunder Point and Shelly Beach.
Following the April to June baiting program, specially-trained border collies scouted the baiting areas to look for signs of fox activity, with the results of the pre and post-program survey showing a 58 per cent reduction in fox scats.
Warrnambool City Council Director Infrastructure Services David Leahy said that while the results are encouraging, realistically, foxes will be a constant threat to native wildlife.
“Overall scat numbers were low around Lake Pertobe and the Viaduct Road precinct following the program, which is good news for the native fauna in the area,” he said.
“Surveying showed that although there was a reduction in scat numbers between Thunder Point and the golf course, there were still active foxes in the area, so we will be concentrating our efforts along the coastal reserves in spring as foxes begin to be more active.
“Warrnambool’s coastal areas are home to a wide variety of native birds and animals, several of which are threatened or endangered.
“Careful baiting at key times of the year is one of the best ways we can protect these native creatures in their natural habitat.”
Para-aminopropiophenone (commonly called PAPP) will once again be used in the baiting area.
Bait will be buried away from paths and trails, and each piece will be mapped using GPS to make sure that it is all collected at the end of the program.
Pets are prohibited from the baiting areas during the program and for four weeks after its completion.
“We will be putting up lots of warning signs around the baiting area to warn people of the dangers to pets, and we will be sending an SMS to all registered pet owners in the municipality as well,” Mr Leahy said.
“One of the advantages of PAPP over other fox baits is that there is an antidote, but it needs to be administered quickly.
“If you believe your pet may have been in a baited area and it is showing signs of lethargy or a lack of coordination, you need to take it straight to a vet that carries the antidote.”
Vet clinics in Warrnambool that hold the antidote include:
• The Vet Group, 59 Mortlake Road Warrnambool – Phone 5561 6911
• The Warrnambool Veterinary Clinic, 514 Raglan Parade – Phone 5559 0222
PAPP is considered more humane than other baits. Animals foraging on the carcass of a fox aren’t impacted by the poison (except in the unlikely scenario that they eat the bait directly from the fox’s stomach before the toxin degrades) and because the meat-based bait is buried, it specifically targets foraging carnivores rather than birds.
Anyone who encounters a fox carcass in or near the baiting area is asked to contact Council on 5559 4800.