Over two hundred foxes have been eliminated from Plenty Gorge Park thanks to an ongoing partnership between The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) and Parks Victoria.
It’s aimed at protecting the park’s threatened native animals like the Growling Grass Frog, the Fat Tailed Dunnart, the Blue Bill Duck and Brush Tailed Phascogale.
Members from the Victorian arm of the SSAA have spent many Tuesdays and Thursdays this year taking aim at these unwelcome predators. One of the main factors in their success of the program is ‘fox whistling’. By imitating the sound of an injured animal the hunters are able to attract foxes to as close as five metres. Only trained and accredited hunters can take part in the program, and it is illegal for other members of the public to shoot in the park.
Local Parks Victoria Ranger Bill Pitt says safety is of the highest importance because Plenty Gorge is so close to residential areas.
“Safety is a high priority and a hundred ‘safe shoot zones’ have been set up in the park where the whistling is done and clear signage is always put up when hunting is underway,” Bill said.
Colin Wood, Hunting and Conservation Manager for the SSAA Victoria says they’re extremely pleased with the results, and plan to keep the pressure on. “We’ve probably got fox numbers down to a quarter of what they were, and we’ll continue working to keep it that way,” he said.
Parks Victoria Ranger Mick Francis teams up regularly with local SSAA member Abe Andrews and he says they both find it very satisfying to be helping the chances of survival for the native birds and animals that are preyed upon by foxes.
“The work at Plenty Gorge Park is a great example of the growing number of successful partnerships between Parks Victoria and SSAA branches across the state,” says Collin Wood, “They’re proving very effective in both reducing the number of predatory animals in Victorian parks and reserves and benefitting native wildlife and their environments.”
For more information contact:
Colin Wood – Hunting & Conservation Manager
(M) 0427 682 223
(B) 03 8892 2777