May 20, 2021
A Senate inquiry has called for significant long-term funding from the Federal Government to support the implementation of national feral pig and deer action plans.
The inquiry report on the impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia, released on Wednesday, made 17 recommendations.
These included data gathering to address gaps in knowledge about the prevalence, range and impacts of feral deer, pigs and goats, identifying emerging threats and avoiding their further spread.
The report noted that feral invasive species pose an urgent and intensifying risk to Australia’s natural environmental values, agricultural productivity, and cultural heritage.
It also noted that much work is still required to bring the impact of feral deer and pigs, in particular, under control.
“Feral deer and pig populations are a major threat to Australia’s biodiversity, impacting a wide range of native plant and animal species, including World Heritage listed sites and areas of national environmental significance,” the report concluded.
“These feral species have the capacity to completely alter the structure of local ecosystems and create irreversible damage, crowding out native fauna and exacerbating other environmental stressors already present in ecological communities.
“The impacts of feral populations on agricultural enterprises are substantial, including: grazing and destruction of crops; competing with livestock for food, and in some cases predating livestock; reducing the capacity for alternate land uses (for example, carbon sequestration), and the expenditure of time and money repairing damage and managing the impacts of these species.
“The estimated annual costs to agricultural businesses from feral deer, pig and goat activities runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Feral populations of these species also pose a significant challenge to containing and eradicating exotic diseases, and can spread diseases to both animals and humans.
“The rapid spread of African Swine Fever across the globe since 2019, which has devastated commercial pig populations in a wide range of countries, has highlighted how vulnerable Australia’s domestic herd is to disease outbreaks linked to feral animal populations.”
Centre For Invasive Species Solutions CEO Andreas Glanznig welcomed the report.
“We have known feral deer are an emerging national issue for many years now, and this was recently confirmed in the latest ABARES pest animal and weeds survey finding that feral deer were the most commonly reported pest animal that recently arrived on properties, more so than kangaroos, feral pigs and wild dogs,” he said.
“We absolutely welcome the Senate’s recommendation to ensure there is sustained funding so we have the same number of integrated tools to manage feral deer as we do for rabbits and wild dogs.”
- External link: Impact Of Feral Deer, Pigs And Goats In Australia report