Fox on the run

Fox on the run
The invasive European red fox has spread across most areas of Australia.

Sunshine Coast Council's Coastal Fox Control Program, aimed at protecting native wildlife by controlling the population of invasive European red foxes, has reported significant success. Since its initiation in 2015, the program has removed 217 foxes, potentially saving over 45,000 native animals. This estimate includes approximately 8,100 small mammals, 27,100 birds, 9,100 reptiles (including endangered turtle hatchlings), and 600 macropods.

The program operates annually from autumn to spring, strategically targeting fox populations during their most active periods to safeguard vulnerable species such as the spotted tail quoll, water mouse, Eastern ground parrot, and turtle hatchlings. Council officers employ methods like soft-catch foothold traps and chemical controls in known fox-active areas, with operations stretching from north of the Maroochy River to Peregian Springs. Public safety measures, including clear signage and advance notifications to residents, are strictly followed.

Councilor Maria Suarez emphasised the importance of the program, noting the devastating impact of foxes on Australia’s native species. The control efforts are backed by research and community support, critical for maintaining and enhancing local biodiversity and quality of life.

The European red fox, introduced to Australia in 1855 for recreational hunting, is now a major threat to native wildlife, thriving in diverse habitats and responsible for the annual death of 567 million animals nationwide. Recognised as a restricted pest under the Queensland Government Biosecurity Act 2014, its management is a key biosecurity responsibility for both the council and residents.

The council encourages community members to report any suspected fox dens and stay informed through resources available on the council’s website. This ongoing commitment underscores the necessity of persistent, well-coordinated efforts to combat the ecological impacts of invasive species on the Sunshine Coast.

More information about the program is available on Council’s website.