Dear Clive, Bette, Peter, Martin, etc,
Bad news from Aaron Ledden, PV Ranger on French Island.
On 22 July he wrote;
> we have had two fox sightings on the island two weeks ago. One was by
Clive [Gordes] the other by bushwalkers. Both sightings occurred on the west
coast. Since then i have been staying over spotlighting and doing stake outs
on the beach at dusk and dawn. We have also started 1080 baiting on the west
coast. Then to top it off we have had additional pigs released on the
island. A sow and suckers. It has been busy. <
"Stuff it!! What sort of idiots are releasing these animals? If we've got
foxes, it's "Goodbye FI's special wildife" = King Quail, Potoroos, Pelican
colony, and most of Western Port's breeding Oystercatchers and Mountain
Ducks. A disaster!"
Since then we've had some more details from Aaron (30 July);
"RE Clive's sighting: Clive would not say it was 100% a fox but he was
suss on what he saw."
My reaction to that is;
"If Clive Gordes says he saw a fox, I wouldn't doubt it!! He has spent
more time in the bush on French Island than anyone living, and seen plenty
of big feral cats! (We shot one on FI in 1989 that weighed 12 Kg, with the
chest blown out! The .270 shot hardly stopped it!!) He has also done 1000s
of hours of bushland weed-control on the Peninsula, where foxes are common
Also, I fully agree with Richard Loyn's comment (28 July);
"I agree strong action is needed. We can hope that the initial
observation was wrong (anyone can make an occasional
mistake) but we should act on the basis that it was correct."
And also with John Seebeck's (NRE mammal expert, first came to French Island
to study Potoroos in 1967!)
"This is just as important for us as foxes getting to Tassie What do we
do about it, and soon? john" (25 July)
Here is Aaron's update (30 July);
" Here is a rundown of the sitution.
Sandplots: Up until the rain of this week we had 20 sandpads along track
on the west coast and into the heifer swamp area. We also have 20 sandpads
along causeway and ridge tracks to check there also.
Bait Stations: I had sixteen bait stations running in the Heifer Swamp
area and along the West Coast Beach. In addition to this I have rabbit
carcasses buried in sand mould around the park to act as indicators. I also
have several goat carcasses that have been set up with sandpands to get
The weather over the last 1 1/2 weeks as you know has been awful. I have
had trouble maintaining sandpads due to runoff and the wet sand. In addition
the baitstations around the heifer are very wet and had been pulled in until
the weather inproves hopefully at the end of the week.
M-44 injectors: I think that they are a good idea however i am not
familiar with there use or application. They are a option that needs
Everything that we have been doing has been do inconjunction with advise
from NRE KTRI and Larry Martin.These guys have been involved since day one.
Chris from Friday i will be on leave. I know the timing sucks but i am
locked in as this trip has been organised by my partner months ago. However
Mick [Douglas] is back and Terry is been heavily involved in the field work.
So Mick will be the man to liase with as he is heading up the response."
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