Molonglo Catchment
Pest Animal Information Pack

Pest Animals - Introduction

 




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Introduction

Pest animals are a serious environmental and agricultural problem throughout Australia, costing the Australian economy an estimated $720 million per annum. In the Molonglo catchment, pest animals introduced since European settlement have thrived on both public and private land. Foxes have reached high densities in rural areas and sightings of goats and deer have increased. Pest animals impact on our environment and economy in a number of ways. Some species prey on native fauna and livestock, others damage soils and groundcover through grazing or compaction with their hooves; they are a vector for weeds and impact on the productivity of agricultural enterprises. To help combat the pest animal problem in the Molonglo catchment, the Molonglo Catchment Group has developed this Pest Animal Information Pack to raise awareness of the issues caused by pest animals, their presence and prevalence in the catchment and the various methods to control them.

It is important to point out what a pest animal is; most of us are used to the term ‘feral’ when it comes to species such as foxes and rabbits. The term ‘feral’ refers to something reverting to its wild state or existing in a natural state (such as an undomesticated animal or a pet gone wild). This terminology undersells the issues associated with species such as foxes, rabbits and deer and, simply put, paints them as introduced species that have gone wild. These species are Pest Animals – that is, they either are, or have the potential to be, a serious threat to native flora and fauna and/or the agricultural economy. It is also worth noting that an animal does not have to be feral to be a pest animal: domestic cats and dogs have been known to cause immense distress to native fauna and livestock but are clearly not feral animals. In some instances, native fauna species may even be considered a pest animal, just as native flora have been recognised as invasive weed species e.g. Cootamundra Wattle.

The list of species discussed in the Molonglo Catchment Group’s Pest Animal Information Pack is by no means exhaustive, but they are the species that, in general, YOU can do something about in the course of day to day activities and WE as a community are able to manage. The package gathers together fact sheets developed by the Molonglo Catchment Group and other organisations to give an overview of pest animals in the Molonglo catchment. These species occur at varying densities within the catchment; species such as rabbits and foxes are well-established while other species, such as deer, can be considered an emerging pest in the catchment. This information pack is designed to help you to identify signs of pest animal activity on your land and make it easier for you to carry out your role as a land manager/occupier in controlling pest animals. Using the information in this pack will assist you to identify potential control methods, improve the productivity of your land, be a good neighbour and enhance our natural landscape.

The various pest animals and invasive weeds occurring in the catchment should be looked at in entirety and usually at a broad scale, by working with your neighbours. By reducing the numbers of one pest animal, another may increase, weeds are often introduced by disturbances caused by pest animals, and pest animals often take refuge in weed thickets. For example, foxes and rabbits may live in blackberry thickets. When planning a control program look into methods to control the various pest animal and weed issues on your property simultaneously. For more information on the common invasive weeds in the Molonglo catchment, please refer to the Molonglo Catchment Group’s Weed Information Pack.

Acknowledgements

The operation of the Molonglo Catchment Group is assisted through the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative with the support of the ACT Natural Resource Management Council. This project has been supported by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust. Thanks to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, South East Livestock Health and Pest Authority and Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre for their assistance with information and images for the project.

 
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Last modified: 26/10/2011