Monday, September 1, 2014

On the Trail of the Invisible Fox

A pub down the road had a pole in its front approach bearing a carved mouse on top. ** The landlord said it was to keep elephants away and swore that it worked, as he had not seen an elephant in years. I reminded him that in Tasmania there are invisible menaces.

Tasmanian farmers are a robust mob, very successful at keeping pests at bay. 

It took no time at all to totally eradicate the Tasmanian Tiger, for instance, many years back. All gone. (But oddly there are still sightings !)

But when it comes to foxes, there have never been any sightings. 
None. At all. 

Nevertheless the almighty Gumnut knows they are there and wreaking havok on a scale that is too much to bear thinking of. 

We have a unique species here -

 Vulpini Invisibilii, 
the Invisible Fox.

I'm sorry I cannot show you a picture.

We can know of its presence only by the arrival of a Government Fox Eradication Officer arriving to lay poison in the lawn. 

There are few large island habitats in Australia now free of Vulpini Invisibilii's  cousin, the more visible Vulpes vulpes populations. Those remaining have a critical role in the conservation of Australian biodiversity. Well, that's what some say. 

But as Mandy Rice Davis of other Government fame was wont to say "Well, they would say that wouldn't they?". Except in Tasmania.

MRD   A very naughty girl.
You used to be able to see a LOT of Mandy.

In 2001 the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service reported that 11-19 foxes had been deliberately released into the Tasmanian environment. This extraordinary conspiracy theory was possibly concocted during a brainstorming session at an expensive conference location on the mainland. There were 'unconfirmed' sightings of several of Mandy's peers at the conference welcoming party, but no official complaints registered.

A really handsome fellow when you can see them.

Although a Tasmanian Police investigation later found no evidence to support this claim (the 11-19 foxes, not the Mandies) a fox eradication program (FEP) based upon widespread buried baiting with 1080 poison was underway by 2003. 

This, oddly, was coincidental with the rise to power and greater visibility of the unholy Trinity of Greenies, Socialists and Feminists in the State and their taking over Government.  

Key to the claims concerning the presence, distribution and eradication of foxes in Tasmania have been evidence based on opportunistically acquired post mortem specimens, anecdotal fox sightings and scat DNA data. 

That is to say 'Shit'. 

But we cannot have the fine word 'shit' in public documents, so 'scat' was invented.

Eradication strategies in Tasmania were proposed using data largely extrapolated from 1080 buried baiting trials from mainland Australia.

Now one might suppose that getting the farmers to take care of their own pestilences would prove fruitful, given their track record, but... as a group they are to a man and woman Conservative and have real nature conservation in mind rather than the city-dweller sort so favoured by Greenies.

Giving a farmer $1000 for every fox pelt might sound a fine idea and all 11 to 19 of the elusive beggars (the foxes, not the farmers) could have been rounded up for a total public outlay of less than half of one average Tasmanian person's weekly wage.

But that would lose an opportunity to push $27,000 000 to greenie mates employed in shonky gummunt department.

They are 'creative'. Although they fall short of actually making anything. 

This is not a Fox. But it is far friendlier than poison.

The scheme has finally been 'wound down'. Not entirely eradicated mind you. (Not the foxes, the eradication effort). A new 'Conservative' Government has finally been elected and the 'Fox Eradication' scheme has been cancelled.

Mind you, it has been pointed out that mistakes - such as stopping the gravy train - can be costly. You know how difficult it is to stop gravy when it is flowing or trains when at full steam.

The very same people who brought the original wild and unsubstantiated claims and scares, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water, and Environment, as it is now renamed, say: 
The consequences of mistakenly declaring foxes eradicated in Tasmania are potentially huge, depending on how well the newly ‘wound back’ monitoring scheme can detect foxes at low numbers. If the scheme fails and numbers increase to levels seen before the eradication program, then the $27 million investment in the program would be wasted. If numbers increase to a level where future eradication is impossible, it would be “an unmitigated disaster” with “catastrophic” impacts on environmental, economic and social values.

Some of the terms they use are on loan from the Global Warming Hysteria Resources Department which is due for closure soon too.  It is certainly a problem considering the pesky blighters (the foxes, not the TDPIPWE mob) are invisible. 

We can't be having unmitigated disasters and catastrophes, now can we.

But help IS at hand.

Northern Hunt Club follows the hounds on decades-long tradition

EVERY winter members of the Northern Hunt Club brave the cold to saddle up and continue a decades-long tradition.

While many Tasmanians are enjoying a Sunday morning sleep-in, hunt club members are heading off to properties across the north for a weekly ride through some of the state’s most picturesque countryside.
No Taxpayers' monies were stolen in having this day out.

Slippery and soggy conditions did little to dampen enthusiasm at the club’s final hunt of the season last weekend, with about 15 riders gathering at Sally Keen’s property Little Run, near Bracknell.

The club organises about 22 drag-hunting events each season, running from late March until the end of August.

Hounds on the hunt follow an aniseed trail laid down by riders who travel a few minutes in front of the main hunt field, along a predetermined course.

Each hunt is divided into several runs of about 1km in length and include a variety of optional obstacles such as jumps and water crossings.

Hunt Club master Ian Klye has been involved with hunting since he was a child and has been the club master for six years.

During the year, Mr Klye is responsible for looking after and training the club’s hounds.

There were 10 hounds used during last Sunday’s hunt.

"OK, listen up, horse. If you see an invisible fox, neigh. OK?
There's a sugar-lump in it for you"

Mr Klye said harnessing the hounds’ natural pack instincts was vital to ensure they worked well to track the aniseed trail.

“They naturally want to work together, so all we do is use that to our advantage so they stay together when we’re out in the field,” Mr Klye said.

The club has about 60 members, who range in age from juniors through to the club’s most senior participant, Sandra Atkins, who has been hunting with club for about 53 years.

At the traditional port stop is held half way through each hunt, when a toast is made to thank the property owners. Northern Hunt Club master Ian Klye addressed the riders on Sunday at the world famous Knight & Drummer Tavern.

Horses and riders cover between 10 and 13km on each hunt and consume vast quantities of the old Knight's fine ale.

Yes, indeed. I serve the traditional glasses of good cheer to them.

** Roger Baylor dropped in.....

RIP Mouse & Elephant

It is my sad duty to inform Kentuckiana that the Mouse & Elephant has closed. It is now a former pub, and that’s too bad. 

Not only that, but the brewery that produced the pub’s only draft beer isn’t even located in Copenhagen anymore.

It is rubble. The mouse didn't work and a herd of elephants trampled the place down. 



Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..