Hello from the glorious Australian rainforest, full of fecundity and native animals. But we also have feral pests, and that’s who I’m battling at the moment.
This young female koala was photographed 2 days ago on my driveway: I want to offer a safe place for her to grow up and breed.
I’ve written before about my challenge to catch & dispose of feral cats wandering our property; my wildlife camera also caught footage of a fox. One wild cat can kill 1,100 animals/lizards/birds a year, and foxes have been named as one of the most destructive invasive species in Australia (introduced in the 1800s by British colonists who wanted to continue the sport of fox hunting).
My horror on seeing one in my garden has been increased with the news that some foxes have learnt to climb trees, seeking baby koalas (NO!), and sugar gliders or possums, who are all tree-dwelling (and previously therefore thought to be safe from this nasty apex predator).
NOT ON MY WATCH FOXY.
So I’ve lent my camera to a couple of neighbouring property owners, and spoken with two local trappers, and gathered intel: we’ve found one of many dens a particular vixen is using to raise 2 cubs. But she’s smart: she has decoy dens, a food cache den, AND moves the cubs around every few days (‘cunning like a fox’ indeed).
Last week we fumigated 2 dens, and the trapper turned to me, as we waited in case a fox ran out, and uttered the words I never thought I’d hear addressed to me:
‘You should get your gun licence. Only takes a couple of hours of training, then the application process… best way to kill foxes is with a gun at night.’
It’s almost hilarious. I’m a longterm vegetarian, consider myself a pacifist, and have always hated the very existence of guns. I despair at the ongoing tragedies of school shootings in America, and am tortured by the images of child soldiers with guns almost taller than themselves.
And yet. If I had to choose between a young swamp wallaby, or a possum, or any of my gorgeous ground-dwelling birds, and a fox…
This has been such a weird year hasn’t it? Expectations have fallen by the wayside; plans have dissolved; previous ‘normals’ have vanished, while we continually reinvent our brave new messed-up world…
Perhaps me morphing into ‘Trapper G’ is just another unexpected turning of my wheel of life, and I should simply surrender to it?
I just don’t honestly know if I could pull a trigger.
Any thoughts or personal experiences to share? Please do.
In gratitude for lifelong learning & curiosity, G xO