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Ecology of European Red Fox

Start date:
01 Jan 2015
End date:
31 Dec 2019
Dr Justin Welbergen, Prof Chris Dickman, Dr John Martin 
Project sponsors:
Sydney Coastal Councils Group (Australian Government), Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
Project partners:
Western Sydney University, University of Sydney, Local and State Government including the Office of Environment and Heritage (NPWS)

Project aims

  • Assess fox behaviour and habitat preferences across an urban to natural gradient;
  • Assess fox prey preferences across an urban to natural gradient;
  • Assess prey availability and species interactions with foxes;
  • Assess fox and macropod interactions in association with increasing urban density;

Project Summary

The European red fox is listed as a key threatening process across Australia (DEWHA 2008). Foxes occur in urban areas, however the focus of management and research has been on agricultural and wilderness areas. Consequently, we have a limited understanding of urban fox ecology, how foxes interact with native species and how these interactions alter the behaviour of native species. This project aims to compare fox behaviour across a gradient of human density from Sydney City to the Blue Mountains. Foxes will be fitted with GPS GSM transmitters in combination with motion activated cameras and DNA analysis of scats.

Research Update

Motion activated cameras will be deployed in late 2015 starting the assessment of prey and fox interactions. Members of the community will also be trained and asked to collect scats for DNA identification of prey species.