Fox control FAQs

What is 1080 poison?

1080 is a sodium salt synthetically produced from monofluoroacetic acid. The acid occurs naturally in several species of Australian plants.

How is the poison laid?

Foxoff® baits containing 1080 are buried at sand plot baiting stations. Baits are placed at least 100m apart and buried more than 10cm underground. These baits are highly attractive to foxes. As each station is made of silty sand, trained staff can see what animals have been at the station by the footprints they’ve left. At first, non-poisoned baits are laid to determine if any species aside from foxes are visiting the site.

How will I know if baiting is occurring in my area?

Before we start fox baiting, we let the community know by:

  • putting up warning signs around the reserves
  • sending letters to residents who live near the affected area
  • advertising in local papers
  • placing information on our website, at Council Chambers and at the National Parks office

Call us on 9424 0000 or the National Parks and Wildlife Service on 9457 8900 to check if you’re unsure.

Does the poison pose a risk to people?

The baits are extremely unappetising to humans and are buried more than 10cm underground. It’s highly unlikely that anyone would dig them up and eat them.

A person would need to eat a number of baits to experience any ill effects. A low non-lethal dose is not cumulative as it can be broken down easily by your body. However, baits should not be eaten and it is illegal to remove bait from a bait station. If you’re concerned about poisoning visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Does the poison pose a risk to native animals?

The program is designed to target foxes. Baits are buried more than 10cm underground and studies show that most native animals will not and cannot eat a buried bait.

Non-poison baits are laid at baiting sites for at least three days prior to baiting to check if animals other than foxes are visiting the site. If there is evidence that any native animals are taking the non-poison baits, the baiting program will be stopped at these sites.

How can I protect my pets?

1080 is lethal to dogs and cats so it’s important to keep your pets out of baiting areas. If you suspect your pet has eaten a bait, take it to a vet immediately.

Domestic pets are prohibited at all times from national parks and the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden. During this program dogs will be prohibited from all reserves that are being baited. Cats are highly unlikely to dig up manufactured baits. Any baits not taken by foxes will be removed at the end of the program.

How long does 1080 stay in the environment for?

There is no long-term contamination of the environment as 1080 occurs naturally and is broken down in soil and water. Research has shown that 1080 is rapidly degraded by soil microbes and is leached by rain. All baits are collected at the end of the program.

Will fewer foxes lead to an increase in other pests such as rabbits?

Native wildlife species are the main staple of a fox’s diet. While foxes do eat rabbits, they do not effectively control these pests. Unlike native mammals, rabbits can breed faster than foxes can eat.

We also conduct a rabbit control program.

Can other methods be used to control foxes?

Research shows that baiting is currently the most effective and efficient method of controlling foxes, especially over large areas. Trapping is also undertaken in the region, but this tends to deliver poor results. Fumigating dens is often not effective as the fumigant escapes in rocky sandstone territory and dens can be difficult to locate.

Shooting has a very restricted reach and electric fencing would restrict the movement of native animals. Scientists are investigating biological controls, but no methods are available yet.

Has the program been successful?

The number of wildlife sightings has increased since fox baiting began. We constantly monitor the program with scientific fauna surveys and fox density studies. We also receive information from community sightings. As fox baiting continues, we hope native animal populations can recover and people visiting parks and reserves will be able to spot more wildlife in their natural environment.