Shoot More Foxes - The Impact of Feral Animals on Wildlife Recovery Plans
The devastation from our catastrophic bushfires will be long felt. Our scorched landscape has become native hunting grounds for foxes, wild dogs and cats. These relentless predators are picking off injured and recovering mammals seeking shelter and resources in the fire zones.
Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said.
"Native wildlife will be at much greater risk of attack because the fires are forcing them further afield to find food, and there is
not enough vegetation to hide them from foxes and cats.
The Invasive Species Council is calling for any wildlife disaster recovery plans to include a comprehensive list of actions that will quickly reduce numbers of feral animals and weeds.
"The presence of environmental weeds and hard-hoofed animals like feral deer, horses and pigs in the burnt landscape will be a major obstacle to environmental recovery efforts," Mr Cox said.
The Invasive Species Council is calling on federal and state governments to urgently roll out a three-point wildlife recovery program:
- Feral cat and fox control: Fast-track feral cat trapping and fox baiting at threatened mammal sites.
- Hard-hooved pest animal control:Accelerate trapping, ground and aerial shooting of feral deer, horses and pigs.
- Weed control: Target urban areas and disturbed sites susceptible to weed incursions.
"No humane feral animal measure should be off the table".
"The months after a bushfire are among the best times to control feral animals, which congregate in areas where scant feed is available.
The open landscape makes it easy to locate feral animals and to use humane control methods such as aerial shooting to quickly reduce their numbers.
Grazing animals like feral horses and deer will also impact the recovery process for rare alpine vegetation and mountain wetlands through grazing and trampling.
This threat must be addressed by quickly reducing feral animal numbers in sensitive areas.
Environmental weeds are another serious threat that will hamper environmental recovery and restoration efforts.
Major weeds such as Coolatai grass and lantana are known to benefit from fires by spreading into burnt areas.
"Australians and the world have been quick to respond to the bushfire wildlife disaster, with generous donations being sent to help rescue and care for injured animals," Mr Cox said.
The Invasive Species Council never considers hunters in its control methods. A joint approach has to be far more effective whilst saving millions in tax payer funds.