The complexities of pest animal control under climate change

Focus on Ferals Forum

The complexities of pest animal control under climate change

Focus on Ferals Forum

Collaborations -


The issue

Rabbits, feral pigs, cats, foxes, deer and wild dogs have significant impacts on both the natural environment and agricultural production. In our region, World Heritage listed areas, several endangered ecological communities and numerous threatened species are significantly impacted by these feral animals. Primary producers are affected by increased grazing pressure on pastures and predation on livestock. Land degradation, animal welfare issues, impacts on biodiversity and reduced productivity and profitability are the result. Our issue now is, 'how might pest animal management change under a changing climate?'

    The solution

    Feral animal control is part of Southern New England Landcare's Strategic Plan, so we sourced funds through the National Landcare Program’s Smart Farm Small Grants to host an event in our region.

      Specialist guests with expertise in pest animal management were invited to present at an interactive one-day workshop to enable participants to explore and address together, emerging issues relating to pest animal management, including the impact of climate change.

          Although the event was promoted widely, drought conditions meant that only 25 participants, including graziers, urban community members and pest animal specialists gathered at Uralla Bowling Club on 4 March 2020.

          The impact

          One third of participants had never attended a Landcare event before. Ninety five percent of participants said the forum significantly increased their knowledge and understanding of the range of pest management issues, and that it provided “a great deal of information that is hard to get anywhere else”.

          When asked to what extent did this forum enhance their ability to embrace new ideas, innovate or transform their practices relating to pest animals, one participant said, “As I'm an environmental consultant it improved my potential to better communicate with people working in this field”.

          Eighty three per cent of participants said the information presented was either extremely or very useful for their situation, and that they were very likely or likely to implement the ideas in the near future. One participant said, “I feel more comfortable with aerial shooting and baiting strategies since learning about the extent of the issue relating to introduced/invasive species.”

          Key facts

          • The scale of the pest problem is huge.
          • There is a need for integrated, landscape-scale and holistic approaches to pest animal control.
          • Although complex, there is a large amount of work being done.
          • Under climate change, research is crucial to maintain and enhance the control methods.
          • Help for landholders is available.

          Project Partners