Context . Access to effective toxicants and delivery systems that target red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are likely to be required as part of a management strategy in the event of future red fox incursions into Tasmania. Potential toxicants include sodium fluoroacetate (1080), para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) and sodium cyanide (NaCN).
Aims . To assess the risk of three toxicants (1080, PAPP and NaCN) to non-target native Tasmanian mammals and birds and domestic dogs and cats.
Methods . We identified native Tasmanian mammal and bird species that may potentially consume fox baits, by reviewing the ecological traits of native species and by monitoring 180 buried bait stations with video cameras. We also assess the potential risk to non-target species of dying from a single standard dose of each of the three toxicants.
Key results . Seven native mammal and 20 native bird species have the potential to consume fox bait. All vertebrates would be susceptible to a single dose of NaCN. Consumption of a single fox bait containing 3 mg 1080 may be lethal to five native mammals, three native birds, and the domestic cat (Felis catus) and dog (Canis familiaris). Consumption of a single fox bait containing 226 mg PAPP may be lethal to the spotted-tailed quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) and the domestic cat and dog. Delivery of toxicants via a mechanical ejector would reduce non-target exposure to toxicants.
Conclusions . It appears that PAPP would provide a useful alternative to 1080 for use in lethal fox control in Tasmania, either in the event of an incursion or in the eradication of an established population. NaCN is not suitable for broadscale use in Tasmania because of the high susceptibility of all vertebrates to this toxicant. Nevertheless, NaCN would be useful in highly restricted areas in the event of an incursion where carcass recovery is important. The use of a mechanical ejector to target delivery of toxicants to red foxes would reduce non-target risks.
Implications . Our results clarify theoretical non-target risks from any future fox-poisoning programs in Tasmania and highlight the need for further research on the susceptibility of native species to PAPP as a potential alternative to 1080.