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Posted on 13/07/2022 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Two month long search leads to fox caught on Phillip Island 


Phillip Island Nature Parks has successfully removed a fox from the island after an intensive two-month monitoring and control program lead by Nature Parks’ staff.

The fox was captured on the Island’s southern coastline and humanely euthanised to protect native species on the island.

The fox was tracked to the location following the discovery of its footprints and with the assistance of conservation detection dog ‘Jazz’.

Nature Parks had taken swift action after a number of chickens were killed on a local property in early May. Prints and a scat were found initially, before infrared surveillance cameras captured a photo of a fox.

Acting Phillip Island Nature Parks Chief Executive Peta Wittig said the fox incursion response was a priority for Nature Parks as foxes are the number one threat to native species, livestock and domestic pets, as well the Little Penguins.

The work included setting the traps, night-time surveys and detection dog searches across the island. The scat and other samples underwent genotyping to determine the sex and obtain a DNA profile of the fox.

Ms Wittig congratulated the Nature Park’s Conservation Team who had been working around the clock to find fox evidence.

“Our team worked tirelessly with resources in the field daily, tracking the fox’s movements and we will continue to stay diligent with these control efforts,’’ Ms Wittig said.

She also thanked the local community for its help by keeping Nature Parks staff up to date with fox sightings.

“We will continue to remain vigilant and conduct extensive surveys until we are certain that the Island is fox free again,” Ms Wittig said.

“Foxes are the greatest land-based threat to Little Penguins on Phillip Island, so we’ve been monitoring the Summerland Peninsula regularly to ensure the safety of the colony.”

Phillip Island was declared fox-free in 2017, after around 25 years of dedicated effort.

It is still not known how the fox arrived on Phillip Island. The fox-cam was operating on the San Remo bridge and would have detected a fox crossing from the mainland. Foxes have been known to swim significant distances in search of new territory and food.