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Title: Did 'precautionary' 1080 baiting have a realistic potential to eradicate Red Fox ('Vulpes vulpes') in Tasmania without 'in situ' monitoring data?
Contributor(s): Marks, Clive A (author); Edwards, Ivo (author); Obendorf, David (author); Pereira, Filipe (author); Hall, Graham (author)
Publication Date: 2014
DOI: 10.1111/emr.12121
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Abstract: Anecdotal reports in 2001 suggested that the European Red Fox ('Vulpes vulpes') had been deliberately released in Tasmania and thereafter an eradication programme using buried fluoroacetic acid (1080) baits was believed to be a necessary precautionary action until mid-2013. Prerequisites for the successful eradication of foxes relate to the scale of the undertaking and the ability to collect in situ data such as the distribution and abundance of the target population and measures of the efficacy of the control technique. Previously, 1080 baiting has demonstrated only limited potential as a fox eradication technique on islands when used on a scale between 685 and 2141 times smaller than Tasmania. In the absence of empirical monitoring data confirming the distribution or abundance of extant foxes, buried baiting was targeted to specific landscapes believed to be preferred by foxes. No empirical data was collected concerning the in situ effectiveness of baiting in Tasmania, yet an a priori assumption of lethal efficacy was extrapolated from four heterogeneous mainland studies to suggest that foxes would have only a 0.23 probability of surviving each bait treatment. We show that these studies were unrepresentative of Tasmanian baiting methods used and influenced by imprecise fox population surveys and misreported data. Overall, in the absence of key population monitoring and efficacy data, the 'precautionary' baiting strategy adopted did not have a realistic potential to eradicate fox incursions in Tasmania, nor is it an appropriate risk management strategy for other large offshore Australian islands. Contingency plans to counter fox incursions on offshore islands must address the currently inadequate technical capacity to reliably detect and monitor low-density fox populations, which is an essential component of successful fox eradication.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Ecological Management & Restoration, 15(3), p. 196-203
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1442-7001
Field of Research (FOR): 060801 Animal Behaviour
060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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