Don’t let your farm become “Feral Farm” – know your rights and obligations to eradicate feral animals
Today, it is estimated that Australia has up to 24 million feral pigs.
The Biosecurity Act 2014 protects Queensland’s economy, biodiversity and people’s lifestyles from the threats posed by invasive pests and diseases.
Invasive pests include feral animals which impact on our native species and can wreak havoc on our local crops causing financial loss.
Two of the major feral animals that affect our local area include feral pigs and wild dogs.
“Wild dogs” include dingoes, hybrid dingoes and domestic dogs that have escaped or been released.
Feral pigs and wild dogs are both restricted invasive animals under the Biosecurity Act 2014. The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
There are a number of control methods available for feral animals. Some of these methods include trapping, baiting, fencing and shooting..
Fencing to exclude feral animals is only viable where the area to be enclosed is relatively small. Fences designed to exclude feral animals are costly so it may be impractical, or nearly impossible, to exclude feral animals from large parcels of land. These fences also need continuous inspection and maintenance, which can be expensive.
Trapping includes the use of conventional cage traps, soft-catch traps and yards that may be created around watering holes to catch animals as they come in to drink. Trapping can be labour intensive, as traps must be checked at least once a day, and sometimes have limited success.
Baiting of feral animals such as pigs and wild dogs is usually done using the poison known as 1080. 1080 occurs naturally in native pea bushes in Western Australia. In order to avoid non-target species eating the baits, some landowners will bury baits, as feral pigs are more likely to dig for food, where as native carnivores will not. Queensland Health is responsible for the regulation of 1080 in Queensland and can issue landholders with a permit for strychnine and 1080 capsules as canid pest ejectors.
Shooting can also be used to control feral animals. However, anyone in Queensland wishing to own or use a gun must have a valid weapons’ licence.The most commonly held licence in Queensland is a general ‘Firearms Licence’ which is suitable for the needs of farmers.
According to Biosecurity Queensland, some chemical and physical control techniques can be hazardous to people, stock and property. Current legislation enforces strict guidelines for their use. When choosing a control option, landowners may need to seek advice from their local government and/or Biosecurity Queensland.
Agricultural chemical products should always be used in accordance with label instructions or permits issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
For wild dogs, control must be done in a humane way and in accordance with animal welfare, firearms and poisons legislation. Contact your local government for advice on appropriate control methods for your area, the conditions you may need to comply with, and what permissions or licences you may need to obtain.
According to the Department of Agricultural and Fisheries website, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), is responsible for administering the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and is obliged to manage dingoes within protected areas. Outside protected areas, a dingo is not protected wildlife. The Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994 (Schedule 5) specifically excludes dingoes from the common mammal (indigenous to Australia) category, therefore, dingoes are only protected inside protected areas.
Further information is available from your local government office, or by contacting Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au.
- Understand your General Biosecurity Obligations (GBO) – factsheets available at www.daf.qld.gov.au
- Obtaining a weapons’ licence - visit https://www.qld.gov.au/law/crime-and-police/gun-licences/about-gun-licences
- Local animal control - Mackay Regional Council area contact Council's Pest Management Officers on 1300 622 529.
- Keeping track of feral animals in your area - A free app called ‘FeralScan Pest Mapping’ is available for iPhone or Android to record any feral animal sightings in your area. Record the problems they are causing in your area and the control actions you undertake.This information is submitted to the FeralScan Community Pest Animal Mapping website www.feralscan.org.au to help develop and maintain an up-to-date picture of how pest animals are affecting the region.