FOX FINDER: Gidargil rangers Brendan Fletcher and Ronnie Blair with Rocky and his handler Tom Garrett.
FOX FINDER: Gidargil rangers Brendan Fletcher and Ronnie Blair with Rocky and his handler Tom Garrett. Mike Knott BUN060819ROCKY5

WATCH: Foxes and hounds; tracking down our turtle predators

THE TURTLE is an iconic part of Bundaberg's coastline. It's on our billboards and websites, attracting tourists and locals alike to Mon Repos.

Fox Finder: FOX FINDER: Gidargil rangers Brendan Fletcher and Ronnie Blair with Rocky and his handler Tom Garrett.
Fox Finder: FOX FINDER: Gidargil rangers Brendan Fletcher and Ronnie Blair with Rocky and his handler Tom Garrett.

Tom Garrett from Southern Queensland Landscapes has an active approach to controlling fox populations which harm the turtle population by eating laid eggs and freshly-hatched young.

Using his tracking dogs, which have been trained to find the scent of foxes, Mr Garrett patrols local beaches looking for fox dens.

When one is found, the den is sealed off and a carbon monoxide cartridge is deployed to put the foxes to sleep. "Unfortunately, yeah, an animal dies, but we're talking about an introduced pest species that shouldn't be here anyway and is doing lots and lots of damage," Mr Garrett said today.

"There's thousands and thousands of native animals killed every night by animals like foxes and cats."

Mr Garrett, who is here for three weeks, said it was vitally important his work continue to receive funding.

"I think in the early '70s they were losing 90 per cent of nests or hatchlings to fox predation," he said.

Mr Garrett said the rookery at Mon Repos hadn't seen a fox on the beach in a number of years since he began his work in the area.

"The dogs have basically created that buffer around the nesting areas and so they haven't had a predation for three years," Mr Garrett said.