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The cost of the Hunter Wetlands’ fox invasionphotos, poll

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.AS Mary-Anne Addington snappedphotos of water birds foragingin the Hunter Wetlands Centre, a killing shattered the peace.
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Ms Addington, from Sydney, was touringthe wetlands last week when a mangyfox ambushed anegretin the scrub.

It mauled its prey andsnatched another birdfrom theair.

As the fox feastedin a flurry of feathers,Ms Addington’s camera clicked.

“I was rooted to the spot,” she said.

“It dropped that bird, another white egret flew along and it just grabbed it. It was surprising to see a fox in broad daylight, just killing birds.”

Ms Addington’s picturesconfirmthe fears of the wetlandscentre’s chief executive Stuart Blanch, who wagesa daily war on the foxes on behalf of thebirds and smalleranimals they kill.

Mr Blanchhas successfully applied toHunter Local Land Servicesfor permissionto use1080 poison bait, shoot and trap the foxes thatstalkthe 43 hectares of the conservation land.

The centre’s most recent baiting permit expired at the end of March, anda fox cub died fromeating a poisonpellet last Tuesday.

Mr Blanch said he hoped to start another baiting campaign in July.

The cost of the Hunter Wetlands’ fox invasion | photos, poll Hunter Wetlands chief executive Stuart Blanch, with a fox cub killed by poison bait.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

DEFENCELESS: A fox mauls an egret at the Hunter Wetlands Centre, the latest in a series of killings in the wetlands. Picture: Mary-Anne Addington.

TweetFacebookButconservationeffortsare thwarted by thefoxes’ ability todig under the perimeter and push their lithe bodiesthrough thelinks.

Staff findtufts of fur in the fence and some foxes, Mr Blanch believes, swim acrossIronbark Creek.

Red foxes were introduced to Australiaas hunting quarry, and now number an estimatedsix million.