Feral fox workshop
FOX whisperer Eddie Juras will host a public workshop on fox behaviour and control in the run- up to a Shire of Mundaring trial to reduce the growing population of feral foxes in the Hills.
He said the hunting habits of wild foxes had led to a significant decline in native birds, small mammals, such as bandicoots, and reptiles.
Foxes are an agricultural pest and a threat to native animals across Australia.
Mr Juras will share his extensive knowledge of fox behaviour and demonstrate how to trap foxes humanely and in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2002 through the use of softjaw traps, as opposed to steel traps which may cause an animal to suffer.
He said he can smell foxes before he sees them.
“I had my first pet fox when I was five years old. I like them, but they are a declared pest,” he said.
“Feral foxes will eat anything; any small mammal is at risk, as well as turtles, poultry and people’s pet cats and birds.
“At this time of the year they make their dens near waterways because they know ducks build their nests on the ground not far from the water’s edge; foxes are pretty smart little critters.
“A single male fox will mate with three or four females and each female may have half- adozen cubs; that’s a big family to feed.
“The female stays in the lair with her blind cubs for four weeks while the male hunts for food, which he leaves at the top of the den because he is not allowed to enter.”
Mr Juras ( 61) runs his business Feral Invasive Species Eradication Management from his Canning Vale home and has held a licence to catch feral animals for more than 40 years.
He said feral cats and pigs were another big problem in the Hills. “I ‘ free feed’ the animals for about two weeks to attract them to sites and I release anything from the traps that shouldn’t be caught. I never use poison,” he said.
Over the years he has worked extensively with Murdoch University students researching the behaviour of foxes.
Mr Juras works mostly for local councils, landcare agencies and the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
“Foxes are not a confrontational animal and I like to spend time with them, stroking and talking to them before I shoot them,” he said.
“We’ve just got to do it and I think more of the animals I’m saving than the animals I’m killing. A fox can kill thousands of animals a year.”
The Shire will seek interest from residents to participate in a trial of fox trapping on private land and is planning a series of free environmental workshops for residents.
The vehicle registration Foxman was a gift from his children.
Eddie Juras with a handful of one- hour- old fox cubs caught in a trap.