Friends of Grasslands
supporting native grassy ecosystems
PO Box 440
Macquarie ACT 2614
Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
The impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia
Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.
Many grassy ecosystems have been subject to significant disturbance and are now listed nationally as threatened, e.g. Lowland Grassy Woodland in the South East Corner Bioregion, Natural Temperate Grassland of the South Eastern Highlands and White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely's Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland are all listed as critically endangered. There are many threats to these ecological communities, one of which is feral animals. The impact of feral animals is by over-grazing and soil disturbance due to hard hooves and pigs rooting and wallowing. Flow-on effects include weed invasion in the bare areas created by feral animals.
As part of the ongoing management of many of the remnants of these communities in the ACT and south east New South Wales area, control of feral animals is undertaken. However, the difficulty with this approach is that, while feral animals might be removed from a conservation site, other feral animals move in from neighbouring areas within a relatively short period. Also, some of these endangered grassland communities occur in more remote areas (e.g. the Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fens in Kosciuszko National Park) where control is more difficult. For this reason we believe that a national abatement plan for these feral animals needs to be developed and resourced to enable full implementation of the plan. Only with such a national approach are we likely to see reduction, in the long term, of the impact of these animals on our unique and highly threatened grassland communities.
1 November 2018