Feral herbivores managed to reduce threats in Fortescue

Active management of feral herbivores in the Fortescue catchment is reducing threats to populations of threatened flora and fauna species, degradation to vegetation cover and hydrological assets such as ephemeral wetlands.

AerialCullTeam_ICotton_web

Aerial management programs at Karijini National Park. Butch Mayer (pilot) with DPaW staff. Credit Ian Cotton

A landscape-scale feral herbivore management strategy between land managers and state government agencies in the Fortescue Catchment, is being coordinated by the Pilbara Corridors Project to reduce threats to biodiversity from feral donkeys, horses and camels.

Feral herbivores negatively impact on pastoral infrastructure such as fences and water points, and compete with cattle for water and forage.

Pilbara Corridors Program Manager Ian Cotton said management of invasive species is part of a management plan to enhance ecosystem function and protect the biodiversity of the Fortescue river wetland systems, and of the Hamersley and Chichester Ranges.

“Activities including Millstream Chichester National Park, Mungaroona Conservation Park, Karijini National Park and various adjoining areas of Unclassified Crown Land and Prairie Downs Station,” Mr Cotton said.

The Project is part of a wider feral herbivore management strategy to identify where feral herbivores are over time, specifically each feral species presence and density, with the objective to target where management activities need to take place to reduce numbers.

“Feral herbivores numbers are always likely to be present due to their highly mobile status, hence the overarching aim is to reduce feral herbivores numbers to a point where minimum cost is required to manage the populations,” Mr Cotton said.

Mr Cotton said this project will also increase engagement with land managers and aid in the coordination of other natural resource management activities.