Native Fauna Biodiversity and Pest Management in the Far West.
Predation threatens many native species with extinction ultimately disrupting balance in the natural food chain and biodiversity in the region. In the Western Region of NSW, the total land area covers 314,500km2, is sparsely populated and covers 40 percent of the state. Managing this issue in such a sparsely populated state can be a challenge.
From an environmental perspective, pest animals prey on wildlife, damage plants, compete with native wildlife for food and habitat, and potentially spread diseases to other animals. By competing for food and water resources, invasive animals out-compete and displace native wildlife from their habitat. Some of the threatened native animal species include marsupials, and ground dwelling birds such as malleefowl.
Educating, conducting surveys, and holding pest information days in impacted areas are some of the many steps to addressing the problem. Information that can be gained from workshops includes, understanding the impacts of feral pests on the environment, recognising and spotting the basic signs of feral pests on property, and information sharing with neighbours.
Understanding the impacts, parties can work on a collaborative approach to manage feral pests on a region scale. Actions taken can include repairing and maintaining exclusion fencing, attending feral pest trapping courses, use of community data capture tools such as feral scan for pest animal recording and management, and controlled and targeted aerial and ground baiting programs. There are two baiting seasons in Western NSW, Spring and Autumn. As a collaborative approach, resources come together to make this biannual event possible.
Between the co-operative efforts of Western Landcare NSW (WLNSW) and Western Local Land Services (WLLS), a larger target audience is reached. WLNSW & WLLS work with members in incorporated groups. Come baiting rounds, WLNSW & WLLS encourage property managers to come to regional workshops to learn about ways to minimise feral pest impacts on the environment. With increased community outreach and awareness, and greater membership uptake, groups become more active in their feral pest management activities including baiting, trapping, and record keeping. These collective approaches help to document and manage numbers of feral pest animals.
Feral pest management is important in the region and relates directly to the productiveness of the land and region-specific biodiversity. Engaging a wider range of land managers, having discussions, and providing information and education early on is important to increase the uptake and overall activity of feral pest management strategies. This information should not only be focused around baiting seasons but also outside of the busy period of baiting rounds.