The devastating impact of rabbits
The Conversation recently published an article about the devastating impact that rabbits have had and continue to exert on Australia plants, wildlife and landscapes.Read More
Australia’s isolation from other landmasses for millions of years since its separation from the Gondwanan continent allowed a unique group of animal species to evolve.
Since the arrival of Europeans many new species have been introduced. Some of these have adapted and thrived so successfully that they now dominate and threaten many of our native species and ecosystems.
Twenty eight Australian mammal species are now extinct. Cats have been implicated in the demise of at least 20 mammal species and subspecies. Feral cat populations fluctuate between two and six million and consume between 100 million and 1.5 billion birds each year.
Feral predators such as cats and foxes have a devastating impact on native wildlife. Their impact is greatest where over-grazing or fire has left little vegetation cover in which to hide.
Other species can have profound impacts on ecosystems in other ways. Cane Toads, which are poisonous, have caused a catastrophic decline in populations of native species such as goannas and quolls that naturally prey on native frogs. Starlings and Indian Mynas compete with native birds for nest sites, food and territory.
Water Buffalo create channels that allows saltwater to intrude into freshwater wetlands adjacent to northern Australian coasts. Feral pigs damage wetlands, tearing up vegetation in pursuit of roots and tubers and eating the eggs and young of birds and turtles.
Poison baits are a tool that we use reluctantly but which unfortunately in many circumstances are the only viable means of reducing feral animal numbers enough to allow native species to survive and recover.
Where there are viable alternatives, we use them. We deploy poison baits in ways that minimise the likelihood of native species being affected and are trialling alternative methods (such as Felixer cat traps) that further minimise the risk of non-target animals being impacted.
We monitor native and feral species numbers on our reserves using motion sensing cameras, trapping, spotlighting and the use of sandpads to capture tracks.
This allows us to understand how our control programs are impacting on feral numbers and in turn how this is benefiting native species populations. This information is used in our planning to refine and prioritise feral animal control.
We collaborate with scientists and university students on research to understand the impact of ferals, the benefits to native species of controlling them, and the best control methods.
Dingoes are Australia’s apex predator and are an important part of the ecology, keeping natural systems in balance. Perhaps counter-intuitively, a healthy Dingo population is good for small to medium-sized mammals, reptiles and birds as cats and foxes avoid them.
Unlike cats and foxes, Dingoes prefer larger prey (e.g. wallabies, kangaroos) so there are less predators of small to medium fauna. Dingoes also regulate numbers of feral herbivores such as goats, deer and rabbits, which helps native species.
An article in WA Today: "One of the nation’s biggest conservation groups has started working with the West Australian government’s fox baiting program in the south and levelled it up to target cats and rabbits too in an effort to restore native animals to their traditional domain."Read More
I have a personal interest in fish and wetlands. Yourka has beautiful Eastern Rainbowfish, Purple Spotted Gudgeons, and Spangled Perch throughout its waterways, as well as Flyspecked Hardyheads, Olive Perchlets, Midgley's Carp Gudgeons, Sooty Granters, Hyrtl's Tandan and probably others in some locations.Read More
Olkola and Bush Heritage may have a new tool in our battle to protect the endangered Golden-shouldered Parrot (Alwal) from feral cats.Read More
It's encouraging to see increasing recognition of the terrible toll feral cats are exacting on our native wildlife, and increasing concern to do something about it. Early Monday morning I headed out to Red Moort to get up in the air with feral cat researcher Sarah Comer and her Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions colleague, Abby, to locate the feral cats Sarah has collared across our Fitz-Stirling landscape on the South Coast of Western Australia.Read More
A recent Guardian article highlighted how invasive species are the most significant threat to, and cause of, species decline and loss in Australia - and more destructive than climate change at present. It's a sobering assessment; and a sad reflection on the early attitude to our native species. Bush Heritage Australia, through its reserve and partnership network is at the battlefront of this war on feral plants and animals.Read More
Have you ever stopped to think, how does the provision of resources in the landscape affect wildlife patterns in general? If you add a heap of additional unexpected food resources, what then happens to the array of carrion eaters and predators, and how does this affect other smaller animals?Read More
Keith Gooley and Peter Caulder are Bush Heritage volunteers with expertise in electronics and a passion for conservation. Keith and Peter are using these skills to help us address one of the biggest threats to Australian wildlife on Boolcoomatta Reserve - feral cats.Read More
The carp trapping program at Bush Heritage Australia's Scottsdale Reserve is moving into its next phase, with a small team of inventors on board to design a heating system for the trap. What? Sounds like we are really trying hard to make those pesky carp just a little too comfortable? Perfectly correct!Read More