State of the Environment Report title
2 0 0 4

2004 Report



Tumbarumba

Pest Animals

Indicator description

Results for this indicator are also available for  

What the results tell us for Tumbarumba

| Infestations | Pests as threats | Control activities |

Eight pest animal species were recorded in Tumbarumba Shire during the reporting period, all of which have negative environmental or agricultural impacts within the area. Four of the major pest animal species were reported to have decreased in the shire during the current reporting period. Wild deer populations increased within the area over the same period.

The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation undertook control programs for seven of the major pest animals within the shire during the current reporting period.

This is the first time Tumbarumba Shire has been included in the Australian Capital Region State of the Environment Report. As such, minimal data were available for comparing trends over the previous reporting period.

Pest animal infestations

The more mobile pest animal species utilise a wide variety of habitat types within all land tenures. Populations of all pest animal species fluctuate with climate, seasonal conditions and the availability of local resources. Managing pest animals and their impacts is the shared responsibility of all land managers.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI—formerly NSW Agriculture) has undertaken analyses of pest animal distribution and abundance across NSW and the ACT. This included pest animal mapping during 1996, 2002 and 2004 (NSW Agriculture 1996; West and Saunders 2003; DPI 2005) (for more information about this mapping see About the data).

Six major pest animal species were identified in Tumbarumba Shire during the reporting period: dingoes and wild dogs, (Canis lupus familiaris, Canis lupus dingo and hybrids), feral goats (Capra hircus), feral pigs (Sus scrofa), foxes (Vulpes vulpes), rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and wild deer (Cervus spp, Dama dama and Axis spp). Their location, abundance and distribution are summarised in Table 1, and changes in their distribution and population density summarised in Table 2. Feral cats (Felis catus) and horses (Equus caballus) were also pests in some areas.

Foxes pose a threat to populations of threatened and endangered species such as the Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) and Mountain Pygmy Possum (Burramys parvus). They also impact on agricultural production, especially in the lambing season. Wild dogs threaten stock including sheep, deer and cattle and also pose threats to native species such as the Tiger Quoll. Feral pigs impact on the environment and agricultural production, especially in the lambing season, and pose a risk for the spread of exotic diseases such as foot and mouth disease. Feral pigs also pose a threat to threatened native species including the endangered Southern Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree). Rabbits impact on the environment and agricultural production by contributing to land degradation and modification of vegetation communities.

Foxes, rabbits and dingoes/wild dogs were estimated to be the most widespread pest animals in the shire during the current reporting period, occurring over 99–100% of its area (DPI 2005). Foxes and dingoes/wild dogs occurred predominantly at medium to high densities, and rabbits mostly in low densities (see Table 1). Feral pig populations were estimated to cover about 73% of the shire predominantly at low densities, and wild deer 49% of the shire mostly at low and medium densities. Feral goats occurred only as isolated populations.

Table 1. Pest animal species within Tumbarumba Shire, 30 June 2004
Pest animal speciesPreferred habitats in shire*Distribution and density (high, medium or low) (% of council area)
Dingoes and wild dogs
(Canis lupus familiaris, Canis lupus dingo and hybrids)
Low-density populations mostly on native forests and woodlands in east; high- and medium-density populations mostly along fringes of these areas and on adjoining native and modified pastures and exotic pine plantations in west of shire.434,900 ha total distribution, covering about 99% of shire at following densities:
High—96,600 ha (22%)
Medium—194,100 ha (44%)
Low—144,200 ha (33%)
Feral goats
(Capra hircus)
Two isolated populations in north of shire, predominantly in areas of native forest and woodland interspersed with modified pastures or exotic pine plantations.14,900 ha total distribution, covering about 3% of shire at following densities:
Low—14,900 ha
Feral pigs
(Sus scrofa)
Generally in northern section of shire across a variety of habitats. All lands in shire susceptible to feral pig problems.320,500 ha total distribution, covering about 73% of shire at following densities:
Medium—64,300 ha (15%)
Low—256,200 ha (58%)
Foxes
(Vulpes vulpes)
High-density populations mostly on native and modified pastures and exotic pine plantations in west of shire. Medium-density populations mostly within native forest, woodland, heathland and shrubland in east.438,850 ha total distribution, covering 100% of shire at following densities:
High—214,280 ha (49%)
Medium—224,570 ha (51%)
Rabbits
(Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Occur in all habitats within shire. Medium-density populations scattered.436,400 ha total distribution, covering about 99% of shire at following densities:
Medium—47,600 ha (11%)
Low—388,800 ha (88%)
Wild deer
(Cervus spp, Dama dama and Axis spp)
Predominantly in eastern half and north of shire within native forest and woodland and adjoining native and modified pastures. One high-density population in centre of shire predominantly within exotic pine plantation and surrounding native woodland and forest and modified pastures. 217,350 ha total distribution, covering about 49% of shire at following densities:
High—14,850 ha (3%)
Medium—132,140 ha (16%)
Low—70,360 ha (30%)

* For additional information on the general habitat preferences of pest animal species, see Pest animal habitat; Source: Choquenot et al. 1996; DEC 2004c–e; DPI 2005; Fleming et al. 2001; Saunders et al. 1995; Williams et al. 1995; Hume Rural Lands Protection Board.

The DPI mapping (see Table 2) suggests that the distribution of wild dogs increased substantially between 1996 and 2002 and marginally between 2002 and 2004, and that the species' abundance increased substantially over the latter period. Despite this, the Hume Rural Lands Protection Board (Hume RLPB) reports there has been a 70% reduction in stock losses due to wild dog attacks since 2001.

According to the DPI mapping rabbit distribution increased between 1996 and 2002 and then remained stable. Although medium-density populations became more widespread between 2002 and 2004, suggesting its numbers increased over that period (Table 2), Hume RLPB reports a 5% reduction in numbers since 2001 due to drought conditions within the shire.

DPI mapping indicates that fox populations remained stable between 2002 and 2004 (Table 2). However Hume RLPB indicated that fox numbers have decreased by 10% in some areas within the shire since 2001.

Feral pigs have been gradually increasing in the shire since 1996. According to DPI mapping, populations in the south-east of the area appeared to decline between 1996 and 2002 while those in the north and north-west increased. Mapping suggests that feral pig abundance increased slightly between 2002 and 2004 (Table 2) although Hume RLPB data suggests pig numbers have decreased by 20% within the shire since 2001. Increases in numbers based on the mapping may be due to a better knowledge of feral pig distribution and abundance within the RLPB area and may not reflect actual changes on the ground.

The distribution and abundance of wild deer have been gradually increasing within the shire since 1996. The trend over the current reporting period is consistent with many other regions. Although present in a small portion of the shire, feral goat distribution has progressively increased, although populations have become more sparse between 2002 and 2004, moving from medium- to low-density during this period. It is not known whether overall feral goat numbers have increased or decreased during the current reporting period.

Table 2. Pest animal distributions within Tumbarumba Shire, 1996, 2002 and 2004
Pest animal speciesPopulation density
199620022004
Dingoes and wild dogs
(Canis lupus familiaris, Canis lupus dingo and hybrids)
Medium—29%
Low—14%
Medium—10%
Low—88%
High—22%
Medium—44%
Low—33%
Feral goats
(Capra hircus)
Low—less than 0.1%Medium—2%
Low— less than 0.1%
Low—3%
Feral pigs
(Sus scrofa)
Medium— less than 0.1%
Low—63%
Medium—11%
Low—59%
Medium—15%
Low—58%
Foxes
(Vulpes vulpes)
Not mapped.High—49%
Medium—51%
High—49%
Medium—51%
Rabbits
(Oryctolagus cuniculus)
Medium—0.5%
Low—44%
Medium—4%
Low—95%
Medium—11%
Low—88%
Wild deer
(Cervus spp, Dama dama and Axis spp)
No density data recorded—39%Medium—18%
Low—28%
High—3%
Medium—16%
Low—30%

Source: NSW Agriculture 1996; West and Saunders 2003; DPI 2005.

At least eight pest animal species were reported from conservation reserves within Tumbarumba Shire (see Table 3); all species shown in table 3 were reported to be stable in the reserves in which they occurred. No information was available about the occurrence of other pest animals within these or other reserves in the shire (see below for a discussion of pest animal control activities).

Table 3. Pest animals in conservation reserves within Tumbarumba Shire, July 2003 to June 2004
Pest AnimalConservation Reserves
Feral cat (Felis catus)Courabyra Nature Reserve, Kosciuszko National Park
Feral goat (Capra hircus)Kosciuszko National Park
Feral pig (Sus scrofa)Courabyra Nature Reserve, Kosciuszko National Park
Fox (Vulpes vulpes)Courabyra Nature Reserve, Kosciuszko National Park
Horse (Equus caballus)Courabyra Nature Reserve, Kosciuszko National Park
Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)Courabyra Nature Reserve, Kosciuszko National Park
Wild deer (Cervus spp, Dama dama and Axis spp)Kosciuszko National Park
Wild dog (Canis lupus)Clarkes Hill Nature Reserve, Bogandyera Nature Reserve, Kosciuszko National Park

Source: NSW Department of Environment and Conservation

Although six state forests are associated with Tumbarumba Shire, no information was available about the presence of pest animals in them.

Pest animals as threatening processes

The activities of six pest animal species in NSW that are present in Tumbarumba Shire have been listed as key threatening processes in the state (see Table 4) by the NSW Scientific Committee under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Of these species, the Committee made one final determination and three preliminary determinations during the current reporting period. The final determinations for the latter were made after July 2004.

Table 4. Listed threatening processes in NSW relevant to pest animals in Tumbarumba Shire
Name of threatening processDate of determination
Competition and grazing by the feral European Rabbit (DEC 2004a)Final: 10 May 2001
Competition and habitat degradation by Feral Goats (DEC 2004b)Preliminary: 11 June 2004
Final: 12 November 2004
Predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by Feral Pigs (DEC 2004c)Preliminary: 28 April 2004
Final: 27 August 2004
Herbivory and environmental degradation caused by Wild Deer (DEC 2004d)Preliminary: 24 October 2003
Final: 17 December 2004
Predation by the European Red Fox (DEC 2004e)Final: 20 March 1998
Predation by the Feral Cat (DEC 2004f)Final: 24 March 2000

Source: NSW Department of Environment and Conservation

A threat abatement plan was prepared during the current reporting period for the European Red Fox. This plan provides a collaborative strategy for fox control programs with the primary purpose of conserving native species in NSW (NPWS 2001b).

Pest animal control activities

NSW Government agencies

The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC—formerly NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service) was involved in wild dog and feral pig control working groups involving Cooma, Bombala and Hume RLPBs, Forests NSW (formerly NSW State Forests), the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment and landholders adjacent to Kosciuszko National Park and nearby reserves (NPWS 2002, 2003). These groups were involved in preparing cooperative wild dog and fox management plans that cover the shire, including:

Only the Thredbo Ingebyra and Rocky Plain, Snowy Plain plans were put in place during the current reporting period (in July 2003).

DEC formed a steering committee to assist with the management of feral horses within Kosciuszko National Park. A Horse Management Plan was developed in 2003 for the park's alpine area and covers the period January 2003 to January 2005. Control methods to be tested as part of the plan include trapping, roping and mustering. Three monitoring sites have been set up and include Cascades Hut and Little Tin Mines Creek (O'Brien and Wren 2003).

An aerial pig-shooting program undertaken by DEC within Kosciuszko National Park included the area around Happy Jacks within the shire. A combined trapping and shooting program was also undertaken in cooperation with park neighbours within the Jagungal Wilderness Area. DEC undertook a similar program within Bogandyera and Jingellic nature reserves (NPWS 2001a, 2002, 2003).

In the 2003–04 financial year, DEC carried out control programs for feral pigs, cats and horses, foxes, rabbits and wild dogs in Kosciuszko National Park, for wild dogs and feral goats in Bogandyera Nature Reserve and for wild dogs in Clarkes Hill Nature Reserve.

DEC issued a number of licences to private landholders within the shire during the current reporting period to cull Eastern Grey Kangaroos on their properties. As a result of this program, at least 985 animals were culled for non-commercial purposes.

No information was available regarding control programs for pest animals within state forests in the shire.

Hume Rural Lands Protection Board

Hume RLPB has developed a Pest Animal and Insect Management Plan that covers all major pest species within its area of responsibility. This plan was first developed in 2001 and is updated annually to ensure that the most effective methods are being employed and current research regarding control methodology is considered when undertaking any pest animal control programs within the RLPB district. A Wild Dog and Fox management plan has also been in place within the shire since 2001.

The objectives of all Hume RLPB control programs for major pest animals are to reduce the impacts of these species on endangered native species, agricultural production, and the environment. Fox management also aims to reduce the impact of this species on lambing in the shire.

Control methods within the RLPB area focus predominantly on harbour destruction, fumigation, myxomatosis, Calici virus and poisoning for rabbits, and shooting, trapping, baiting and poisoning for foxes, wild dogs and pigs. Approximately 6,000 to 8,000 baits are put out for foxes annually within the shire, and around 100–120 wild dogs and 300–500 feral pigs destroyed annually there.

Other bodies

The Tumbarumba Shire Feral Animal Working Group, established during the reporting period, runs a cooperative program between various agencies and has been relatively successful in reducing the incidence of stock attacks from wild dogs/dingoes. A draft control plan has been developed and is nearly ready for final sign-off by the relevant parties, which include Forests NSW, DEC, Hume RLPB, private landholder representatives and Tumbarumba Shire Council (Livermore 2005).

Pest animal control expenditure

Control for all major pest animals within the shire is undertaken in varying degrees both by state land managers and individuals. Expenditure on pest animal control and outcomes of control programs within the shire are summarised in Table 5. All major pest animal species were reported to have decreased within the current reporting period due to control measures undertaken and drought conditions. Stock losses due to wild dogs decreased during the reporting period.

Table 5. Expenditure on pest animal control within Tumbarumba Shire, July 2000 to June 2004
Pest animal speciesAnnual expenditure by RLPB*Source of fundingOutcome: change in
abundance or spread
Total area treated (ha) #
YearAmount
Dingoes and wild dogs
(Canis lupus familiaris, Canis lupus dingo and hybrids) and
Foxes
(Vulpes vulpes)
2000–01$39,350Board rates and DEC70% reduction in stock losses since 2001
10% reduction in Fox numbers since 2001—factors such as mouse plagues may cause increases in numbers periodically
220,000
2001–02$63,420
2002–03$92,000
2003–04$115,000
Feral pigs
(Sus scrofa)
2000–01$11,500Board rates and DEC20% reduction in numbers since 2001200,000
2001–02$39,330
2002–03$60,000
2003–04$53,000
Rabbits
(Oryctolagus cuniculus)
2000–01$12,200Board rates and DEC5% reduction in numbers since 2001 due to drought conditions70,000
2001–02$18,200
2002–03$15,000
2003–04$15,000

# Area treated includes control works by Hume RLPB only; area treated by other agencies is not known; * Expenditure on pest animal control programs includes that undertaken by Hume RLPB and DEC only. Expenditure by other agencies and landholders is not known; Source: Hume Rural Lands Protection Board; Department of Environment and Conservation

Control measures for foxes, feral pigs and rabbits were undertaken largely by individuals while the majority of control measures for wild dogs were undertaken by Hume RLPB and state land managers (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Percent of area treated for major pest animals by state agencies and individuals, July 2000 to June 2004

graph showing the relative area treated by landholders compared with government agencies and the RLPB, as described in the text

Source: Hume Rural Lands Protection Board

About the data

Data were provided by Hume Rural Lands Protection Board. Eighty one per cent of Tumbarumba Shire falls within the Hume Rural Lands Protection Board administrative area; the shire comprises approximately 34% of the board area.

The NSW DPI pest animal maps represent the distribution and abundance of major pest animals throughout NSW and the ACT. Based on a density ranking system, maps depict variation in animal abundance across all land tenures. Information was collected at a regional scale on a grid cell basis. Pest animal density data were obtained from the Rural Lands Protection Board districts, NSW National Parks, State Forests of NSW, Environment ACT, Sydney Catchment Authority, and the Game Council of NSW. The data were compiled by NSW DPI Vertebrate Pest Research Unit in a collaborative project to focus resources, identify emerging issues, and advance preparedness for exotic animal disease. NSW DPI conducted three major surveys in 1996, 2002 and 2004. Increased awareness of pest animals throughout NSW has increased the accuracy and detail of maps in recent years.

Additional data collected for the 2002–03 and 2003–04 financial years for the Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management Program were provided by DEC South West Slopes region.

Additional data for expenditure on pest animal control programs was provided by Upper Murray Area Office of DEC's Parks and Wildlife Division.

Data regarding the DEC kangaroo management program was provided by DEC, Environment Protection and Regulation Division, Dubbo. Figures for non-commercial culling may be less than the actual numbers culled due to local DEC offices not having access to the Kangaroo Management Database until the 2001–02 financial year.

References

Choquenot, D, McIlroy, J and Korn, T (1996) Managing Vertebrate Pests: Feral Pigs, Bureau of Resource Sciences, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

DEC—see Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2004a) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, Competition and Grazing by the Feral European Rabbit—Key Threatening Process Declaration, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, viewed 3 February 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Competition +and+grazing+by+the+feral+European+rabbit+key+threatening+process+declaration.

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2004b) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, Competition and Habitat Degradation by Feral Goats—Key Threatening Process Declaration, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, viewed 3 February 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/feral_goats_ktp.

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2004c) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, Feral Pigs—Key Threatening Process Declaration, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, viewed 3 February 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/feral_pigs_ktp.

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2004d) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, Herbivory and Environmental Degradation Caused by Feral Deer—Key Threatening Process Declaration, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, viewed 3 February 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/feral_deer_ktp.

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2004e) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, Predation by the European Red Fox—Key Threatening Process Declaration, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, viewed 3 February 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Predation +by+the+European+red+fox+key+threatening+process+declaration.

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (2004f) NSW Scientific Committee—Final Determination, Predation by the Feral Cat—Key Threatening Process Declaration, NSW Department of Environment and Conservation, viewed 3 February 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Predation +by+feral+cats+-+key+threatening+process+declaration.

Department of Primary Industries (NSW) (2005) Pest Animal Survey 2004: A review of the distribution, impacts and control of invasive animals throughout NSW and the ACT, unpublished report, Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange.

DPI—see Department of Primary Industries (NSW)

Fleming, P, Corbett, L, Harden, R and Thomson, P (2001) Managing the Impacts of Dingoes and Other Wild Dogs, Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra.

Livermore, B (2005) Manager Environmental Services, Tumbarumba Shire Council, personal communication.

NPWS—see NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

NSW Agriculture (1996) Pest Animal Mapping, Unpublished data, NSW Agriculture, Orange.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2001a) Pest Animal Management Programs 2001, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2001b) Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville, viewed 3 February 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/PDFs/Redfox_approved.pdf.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2002) Pest Animal Management Programs 2002, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2003) Pest Animal Management 2003, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.

O'Brien, P and Wren, L (2003) Horse Management Plan for the Alpine Area of Kosciuszko National Park, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Jindabyne, viewed 19 May 2005, http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/PDFs/kosciuszko_wild_horse_management_plan.pdf.

Saunders, G, Coman, B, Kinnear, J and Braysher, M (1995) Managing Vertebrate Pests: Foxes, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

West, P and Saunders, G (2003) Pest Animal Survey 2002: An analysis of pest animal distribution and abundance across NSW and the ACT, NSW Agriculture Emergency Animal Disease Preparedness Initiative, NSW Agriculture, Orange.

Wild Dog/Fox Working Group (2003a) 3 Year Cooperative Wild Dog/Fox Plan: Rocky Plain Snowy Plain, Operational Period 1st July 2003–30th June 2006, Department of Environment and Conservation, Jindabyne.

Wild Dog/Fox Working Group (2003b) 3 Year Cooperative Wild Dog/Fox Plan: Thredbo Ingebyra, Operational Period 1st July 2003–30th June 2006, Department of Environment and Conservation, Jindabyne.

Wild Dog Working Group (2004) 1 Year Cooperative Wild Dog Management Plan Gundagai Wild Dog Working Group Area. Operational Period 1st October 2004–30 September 2005, Department of Environment and Conservation, Tumut.

Williams, CK, Parer, I, Coman, BJ, Burley, J and Braysher, ML (1995) Managing Vertebrate Pests: Rabbits, Bureau of Resource Sciences/CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Ecology, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.