Thanks to assistance from donors, sponsors and grants including from the Ian Potter Foundation, Phillip Island was declared fox-free in 2017 - after over 25 years of dedicated efforts to remove them.
One fox can kill up to 30 penguins in one night. Foxes were introduced to Phillip Island in the early 1900s and numbers peaked at 200 foxes in the early 1980s. These high fox numbers posed a significant threat to the last remaining little penguin colony on the Summerland Peninsula as well as other native wildlife across the island.
The Penguin Foundation contributed to the Fox Free Phillip Island program by funding the employment of a full-time Fox Eradication Manager, as well as supporting specialised fox detection dogs Jazz and Sam and funding the purchase of night vision equipment to detect foxes.
In 2011, the Fox Free Phillip Island program won a prestigious Banksia Environmental Award in the 'Land a Biodiversity - Preserving our Ecosystems' category.
In 2012, the program was also recognised with a win at the Victorian Coastal Awards. As a testament to the on-ground success of the program, no Little Penguin has been killed by a fox in the Summerland Peninsula colony on Phillip Island since 2009.
In 2014, the program received $192,500 from the Ian Potter Foundation to intensify efforts and work to remove the final estimated 5 foxes from the island. Phillip Island is now the largest island from which introduced red foxes have been removed.