Feral Red Eared Slider Turtle
It is well recognised that feral animals and invasive plants are second only to habitat loss in the immediate threat to our biodiversity.
The current increased performance in addressing biosecurity should not go unnoticed. There is no question that biosecurity is a Queensland Government priority. The efforts on fire ants, red-eared slider turtles, citrus canker and Siam weed to name a few are well known. Major biosecurity incidents are expected to become more frequent as movement of product and people around the world increases. We cannot be complacent.
While potential threats continue to be a high priority, there is now a concerted effort to address some of our more well-established threats such as wild dogs and deer in particular. Such efforts are commendable.
Wild dog snapped on a quoll survey
Photo © WPSQ
The Qdog Committee (Queensland dog offensive group) has been established. Wildlife Queensland is represented on that committee. The current strategy is being revised and will be released for public comment. A wild dog is defined as including dingoes, feral dogs and hybrids - the result of crosses between wild dogs and dingoes.
This committee is charged with management of wild dogs throughout Queensland but DERM will continue to be the lead agency on Fraser Island. Established targets include
- Zero tolerance of wild dogs within the barrier fence
- Effective control of wild dog in peri urban areas
- Effective control of wild dogs elsewhere in the State
- Conservation of dingoes.
The Qdog Committee is in its infancy but the Premier has a direct interest and will be monitoring its progress.
Feral deer are also being targeted. Feral deer are defined as any deer not confined by a deer proof enclosure. Eighteen species of deer were introduced into Australia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most of the species perished but six of these liberated deer species: chital, red, rusa, fallow, hog and sambar survived to form wild viable populations.
The fallow, red, rusa and chital species of deer have established populations in Queensland. It is estimated that the total numbers in Queensland now exceed 30000 in over 20 populations. Feral deer are now declared pest animals with obligations on landholders to take certain action depending on the pest class of the species. While there is a long way to go this is a key step forward.
Feral horse control has not been forgotten. Numbers of feral horses in the Carnarvon National Park have been reduced by some 60% and the program will continue until an appropriate and manageable number is achieved. Efforts are about to commence in Mungkan Kandju National park in Cape York.
All these efforts are a big positive for our biodiversity. However while it is a step in the right direction, efforts need to be expedited and don’t forget the pigs, feral cats and foxes!
For more information on Wildlife Queensland's activities, call us on +61 7 3221 0194 or send us an email.