- Thursday 26 January 2017
Sunshine Coast Council has endorsed the continuation of its program to prevent and control the presence of declared feral animals in the region.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, council, and any resident, has a General Biosecurity Obligation to manage declared pest plants and animals on land under their control.
The Feral Animal Prevention and Control Program is designed to target specific feral animal species throughout the Sunshine Coast Council area that are declared pests under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the program would allow council to continue to monitor the extent and magnitude of certain feral animals in the region.
“Feral animals can have a significant impact on our environment so it’s important that we understand where they are and implement activities to minimise the damage,” Cr McKay said.
“Impacts include damage to agricultural and horticultural crops, irrigation and fences, competition with livestock for pasture and supplementary feed, attacks on livestock, domestic pets and native animals, damage to trees and native regeneration, the dispersal of weed seeds and erosion.
“Feral animals can also pose a risk to livestock industries and human health by aiding in the spread of disease.
“Through this program council, will target wild dogs, feral pigs, feral cats, feral deer, European foxes and European rabbits.
“Rabbits are not yet established here in the Sunshine Coast region and it is very important that we keep it that way.
“If rabbits were to become established their impact on agriculture and our environment would be significant.”
Council’s Team Leader Animal Education and Control Anthony Cathcart said it was vital to continue the programs that have been developed within the last two years to bring about effective controls of feral animals across the region.
“These are on-ground, effective control programs aimed at protecting agricultural and environmental assets including the amenity of our region,” Mr Cathcart said.
“Council’s mapping, monitoring and data collection, policies and documentation, and communication to the community for the baiting programs are best practice and we have been recognised by the State Government and other councils as a leader in this field.
“Through the program we are able to identify the presence or absence of feral animals, provide education and assistance to residents to minimise the impacts of feral animals on their property, pets, livestock and agricultural crops and implement control programs to reduce the presence and destructive impact of these pest animals in our region.
“The data and research collected through this program allows us to make decisions based on real results and outcomes that are monitored.
“The program helps us to map the populations of feral animals and better understand how to manage these populations and reduce their impacts on the environment to get the outcomes we desire – species protection, agricultural protection and amenity within our region.
“Many of these programs are not possible without the strong partnerships and support from our community and this should not be forgotten.”
Council responds to hundreds of requests for assistance with feral animals each year.
Community Response officers are available to provide assistance to residents through training, advice and on-ground support to help with the control of feral animals on their property.”
Through the program, council is also targeting the invasive Indian Myna bird which although not declared a prohibited or restricted animal, is impacting the Sunshine Coast Council area environment.
It has been added to the prevention and control program.
The program will commence on February 13, 2017 and conclude on June 30, 2017.
Find out more about feral animals.