Tasmania plans to eradicate red foxes

November 20, 2006

Tasmania plans to spend millions of dollars destroying red foxes, an animal that until recently was thought not to have spread there.

While there are few reports of live foxes, dead ones have been found on roads in the Tasmanian interior apparently hit by vehicles, The Times of London reported.

The red fox was brought to Australia from England and spread quickly. But the 125 miles of open water between Australia and Tasmania was thought to have been an insurmountable barrier to the fox.

Experts say that the species may have lived in Tasmania for decades without being spotted. But the sharp drop in numbers of the Tasmanian devil, a carnivorous predator, and a halt in the use of poison for animal pests may have been followed by explosive growth in the fox population.

The eradication effort has been budgeted at $56 million Australian, $43 million dollars U.S.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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