Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CANBERRA FOXES


I was reading on a local forum the other day the laments of chicken owners in suburban Canberra backyards of the perils of an unsecured pen and the feral fox. Sounded like Canberra is rife with foxes quite prepared to poach any chicken left unattended and accessible. Problems of a bush capital I suppose.

In my youth I shot a lot of foxes. That might seem harsh but there were a lot of them and a pelt was worth up to 40 dollars. So out of interest a bit of a search revealed that the wily fox has been influencing Canberra society for a while. Remember this is feral pest not Basil Brush. This report from 106 years ago indicates how foxes were dealt with before canberra became the capital...


The Age (Queanbeyan, NSW) Tuesday 18 July 1905



This was pretty much my experience with foxes. Every year same numbers...

The Canberra Times - Tuesday 18 June 1935


I loved this. A Royal connection. A hunt club was formed specifically so the Duke of Gloucester to hunt with hounds. They even imported the hounds...

Cairns Post - Tuesday 23 November 1943



The conditions of the pelts were poor in 1948 influencing fox shooters determination I'm sure. I can remember the reason we stopped shooting foxes was that after the anti-fur campaign in the 80's prices dropped to $4 a pelt. Before that the Qeanbeyan buyer used to average pelts at $28...

The Canberra Times - Tuesday 24 August 1948



Two foxes accused of killing 20 turkeys and 30 chickens...

The Canberra Times - Wednesday 21 April 1948



Foxes in the hedges of Parliament House, in Haig park and once again poor skin prices saw an increase in numbers...

The Canberra Times - Monday 20 March 1950



Sheep and lamb attacks were on the rise with a suggestion being offered that myxomatosis had reduced the food supply of rabbits and alternatives must be found...

The Canberra Times - Friday 30 July 1954



and finally a call for a government bounty on fox scalps...

The Canberra Times - Monday 6 September 1954



There is no fox shooting going on in the ACT that I am aware of but I note areas on Corin Road have been baited with 1080 (Sodium flourocetate) They wouldn't do that in the Canberra Nature Parks I suspect. Well I think that tells a bit of a story on the influences of foxes in the capital and at the end of the day I think people are just going to have to learn to keep their chickens in Canberra very secure.

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