Impacts of Feral Animals
• According to the report “Counting the Cost: Impact of Invasive Animals in Australia, 2004” (Pest Animal Control CRC), the cost impact nationally of 11 feral animal species totalled $720 million per year.
• More than 95% of New South Wales is inhabited by some species of wild or feral animal. Left unmanaged, feral animals can adversley affect the environment and agricultural production.
NSW Agriculture studies recommend hunting can be appropriately incorporated into pest control plans. In NSW and adjoining states, there are more than 250,000 licensed hunters.
• The fox population in Australia is estimated at 7.2 million. It is estimated this population consumes 190 million birds every year.
• The fox is threatening the survival of many Australian mammals and birds including the Western Quoll, Greater Bilby, Black-footed Rock Wallaby and Long-footed Potoroo.
• A female fox can produce more than 20 cubs over an average lifetime of four years, with cubs beginning to eat prey from four weeks of age.
When you consider that this massive fox population consumes an average of 190 million native birds each year, building on current control efforts using licensed hunters in a more organised manner will help turn around negative environmental impacts in the long term. It is estimated that shooters already account for 13% of fox control actions in NSW.
• The feral pig population is estimated at about 23 million in Australia and they destroy the vegetation that prevents erosion and provides food and nesting sites for native wildlife.
• In some areas feral pigs kill and eat 40% of newborn lambs.
• Feral pigs can have up to two litters every 12-15 months and they can produce 10 piglets in each litter.
About 22 per cent of feral pig control initiatives undertaken in agricultural areas involve conservation hunters. A further 8 per cent involve commercial hunters.
One study has estimated that private hunting delivers over $3.5million in savings to landholders affected by feral pigs.
• Feral goats damage vegetation, soils and native fauna in the large areas of pastoral land that are overgrazed and populations can increase by 75% annually.
• Australia has an estimated 2.6 million feral goats.
In South Australia, under a conservation program called “Operation Bounceback”, hunters have culled more than 25,000 wild goats from the Flinders Ranges since 1992.
In Victoria, a successful trial by Parks Victoria and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia resulted in a 25% reduction of the feral goat population in the southern part of a 633,000 ha public land area.
• There are an estimated 18 million feral cats in Australia.
• 19 species of endangered mammals are under threat from feral cats, including the Rufous Hare-wallaby, Greater Bilby, Eastern Barred Bandicoot and Little Tern.
• Feral cats generally eat small mammals, but can also eat birds, reptiles and insects.
"Counting the Cost: Impact of Invasive Animals in Australia, 2004" (McLeod)
Tisdell, C.A. (1982)
NSW Agriculture Pest Animal Survey 2002, Peter West a& Glen Saunders
Game Council NSW
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