Better codes of practice for control of feral animals

24 02 2023

From time to time I turn my research hand to issues of invasive species control, for example, from manipulating pathogens to control rabbits, to island eradication of feral cats and pigs, to effective means to control feral deer.

Not only do invasive species cost well over $1.7 trillion (yes, that’s trillion, with 12 zeros) each year in terms of damage and control (a minimum of $25 billion per year in Australia alone), they are one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss globally. So, if you baulk at lethal forms of control of invasive species, you are simultaneously stating that you’re fine with the torture and death of millions (if not, billions) of native animals each year.

Thanks to the collaborative and evidence-driven foresight of my colleagues at PIRSA Biosecurity and Landscape Boards, I was recently involved in more research examining the most efficient, cost-effective, and humane ways to cull feral dear in South Australia. The resulting paper is now in review in NeoBiota, but we have also posted a pre-print of the article.

Feral deer are a real problem in Australia, and South Australia is no exception. With six species of feral deer in the country already (fallow Dama dama, red Cervus elaphus, hog Axis porcinus, chital A. axis), rusa C. timorensis, and sambar Rusa unicolor deer), fallow deer are the most abundant and widespread. These species are responsible for severe damage to native plants, competition with native animals, economic losses to primary industries (crops, pastures, horticulture, plantations), and human safety risks from vehicle collisions. Feral deer are also reservoirs and vectors of endemic animal diseases and have the potential to transmit exotic animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth. If left uncontrolled, within 30 years the economic impacts of feral deer could reach billions of dollars annually.

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Fancy a job in biosecurity controlling pest species?

13 12 2018

Rabbits-Western-NSW

My mate Dr Brad Page — Principal Biosecurity Officer (Pest Animals) at Biosecurity SA — asked me to post the following jobs he’s advertising for pest-animal control. Now, I’m near-completely opposed to ‘wild dog’ (i.e., dingo) control in Australia, but I’ve agreed to post the third position as well, despite my ecological misgivings. Brad has a different perspective.

We have exciting opportunities for three new pest animal control coordinators, who will be working to support and reinvigorate control of deer, rabbits, and ‘wild dogs’.

All three coordinators will be part of our Biosecurity SA Division within PIRSA. These new positions will report to our Principal Biosecurity Officer, Pest Animals.

cnt-deer

Deer and Rabbit Control Coordinators (two positions)

The Deer Control Coordinator and the Rabbit Control Coordinator will provide tailored professional support to natural resource management (NRM) staff and community groups doing control programs. These coordinators will aim to increase the impact of deer and rabbit control programs to support primary producers and biodiversity managers. The position will connect and empower existing community and industry groups, maximising impacts of their efforts to control feral deer and rabbits in agricultural landscapes. Read the rest of this entry »








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