The Fox Free by 2050 Fund is a collaboration between Rewilding Australia and partners to raise funds to develop a safe and humane genetic solution to the European red fox in Australia. Funds raised will be used to put out to tender an Expression of Interest to research organisations to investigate the development of Gene Drive Technology for controlling foxes. This Program aims to move fox management away from traditional inefficient and expensive landscape-scale control approaches (baiting, shooting and trapping) towards a target-specific, humane and sustainable control solution that can operate within Australia with minimal ongoing management intervention. The ultimate aim of the Program is to make Australia Fox Free by 2050.
But what is Gene Drive? Gene Drive edits an animals genome to insert a genetic variation that rather than is only inherited by a percentage of progeny, is inherited by all of the progeny. How would this help control foxes? Imagine we could insert a gene to pass the male gene to all offpring of a fox. Eventually a fox population would run out of females to breed with and the population would decline.
Gene Drive is an emerging technology that may provide significant future conservation benefits, however there are many unknowns and potential risks of genetic manipulation that need rigorous regulatory framework to ensure that risks are properly assessed managed. Part of this Program will aim to address the potential to manage such risk.
Do you want to be a part of making Australia Fox Free? Donate to the Fox Free by 2050 Fund.