Since its’ introduction to Australian shores in 1845, the European fox, or vulpes vulpes, has had a disastrous impact on the native environment. So much so that this highly adaptable mammal, originally brought to Australia for recreational hunting purposes, is now a target for extermination. Their ability to adjust quickly to changes in their environment and thrive, which has lead to much harm to both aboriginal Australian species and livestock, now means that we are faced with an ultimatum: destroy the fox, or allow the extinction of native creatures and the continued damage of livestock.
As previously stated, the fox was introduced to Australia in 1845 for the purposes of recreational hunting. Supposedly, they were first released near Geelong, Victoria. They spread rapidly across the country, in part due to the concurrent introduction of the rabbit, which provided a ready food source for the fox, and also due to their invasive nature. Today, foxes are rampant throughout all of Australia, excluding the northernmost tip of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It is even believed that foxes were deliberately introduced to Tasmania in 2001. Furthermore, there has been the emergence of reports indicating that foxes have even taken up residence in large cities, such as Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.
Many factors have led to this spread of the fox pestilence. Firstly, the fox has an easy adaptability with concern to diet; purportedly, they will feed on a wide range of small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and fruit. Their diet often includes such native animals as the rock wallaby, numbat, brush-tailed bettong and the bilby, all of which are under extreme threat of extinction. Foxes are responsible for approximately $227 million in loss of Australian livestock and biodiversity annually, $1 million of which is lamb predation alone. Another reason for the prosperity of the fox in Australia is, although...
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