Feral animal management on Kangaroo Island is underway to manage feral cats and pigs to support the recovery of native wildlife.
Before the bushfires, it was estimated between 1,000 and 3,000 feral pigs and around 5,000 feral cats were roaming on Kangaroo Island (KI).
A significant portion of the island’s feral cat and pig populations are believed to have perished during the bushfires.
The KI Natural Resource Management (NRM) Board and National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia (NPWSSA) are working closely with landholders to manage remaining feral pigs by targeting pigs congregating around pockets of unburnt vegetation.
NPWSSA Feral Animal Control officer Brenton Florance said working closely with landholders, the State Government control team has so far removed around 52 pigs from the bushfire-affected western end of the island.
“The management of feral pigs is a joint effort with landholders who are reporting pig sightings and allowing us to access their properties to carry out control measures,” Mr Florance said.
“Work is also already underway to trap and destroy feral cats in unburnt areas of Flinders Chase National Park, which serve as refuges for special KI species like the KI dunnart and KI echidna
“Also the Kangaroo Island Feral Cat Eradication Program continues to be focused on removing feral cats from the Dudley Peninsula (which was not burnt during the bushfires).”
$1.5 million of Australian Government funding has been made available to support the management of feral animals on the island as well as satellite mapping and other bushfire recovery activities.
Presiding Member for the new Kangaroo Island Landscape Board (formally NRM Board, to come into effect on 1 July) Andrew Heinrich, said public help is vital to reduce feral animal numbers and prevent repopulation.
“We have a unique opportunity now to try and eradicate pigs from the western end of Kangaroo Island, and the support of all landholders and the broader community is vital at this time if we are to succeed,” Mr Heinrich said.
“Most landholders are well aware that these feral animals churn up the ground preventing recovery, carry pests and diseases, and foul water sources – and most are determined to help stop their spread.
“The law clearly states that feral pigs and cats cannot be moved, kept, sold or released anywhere on Kangaroo Island and it was only thanks to community vigilance that we were able to stop them from becoming a problem.”
In the Adelaide Hills, NPWSSA staff are working closely with landholders and encouraging them to undertake rabbit control measures and be vigilant in the wake of the Cudlee Creek fire.
Information sessions have been held in the area to inform landowners about various post-bushfire issues and rabbit bait has been made available for sale from the Woodside office.
If you would like to help with bushfire recovery, please donate to the Wildlife Recovery Fund established by the NPWSSA with Nature Foundation SA. You can donate by visiting www.naturefoundation.org.au/support-us/wildlife-recovery-fund