Feral animals

Last updated: Wednesday 25 May, 2016
A feral cat photographed by a remote sensor camera on Chales Darwin Reserve, WA.A feral cat photographed by a remote sensor camera on Chales Darwin Reserve, WA.


Foxes and cats have a devastating impact on native wildlife especially on small mammals, birds and reptiles. Their impact is greatest where over-grazing or fire has left little vegetation in which native species can hide.

On many Bush Heritage reserves foxes are controlled by baiting with 1080 poison baits. Cats are trapped where possible. Both foxes and cats are also shot.

Nocturnal feral cats prey on small- to medium-sized native mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. They've been implicated in the extinction of 22 Australian mammals, and threaten many more.

Dingoes are Australia's top natural predator and are an important part of the ecology.


Some of our properties have a history of running cattle, sheep, goat or other stock, or are near to pastoral areas. Fencing to keep stock out and removal of any feral herbivores reduces grazing pressure and allows grasslands and plants to regenerate.

A dingo on Carnarvon Reserve, Qld. Photo Emma Burgess.A dingo on Carnarvon Reserve, Qld. Photo Emma Burgess.

Heavy grazing also prevents grasses from ever seeding, which denies small rodents, birds and insects this key food source, as well as sometimes preventing annual grasses from regenerating.

On top of this, the hard hooves of cattle, sheep and goats can inititate erosion, while feral pigs can do significant damage to wetland areas if allowed to roam.

How the wildlife responds

Removing ferals animals improves conservation outcomes. Controlling predators improves the likelihood that small native animals will live longer and breed successfully. It directly enhances the long-term future and resilience of wildlife populations.

Leave a lasting legacy
Leave a legacy