What is a Feral Animal?
A feral animal is an animal that was either originally domesticated, escaping into the wild, or that was brought in from its native environment into a foreign one. With few or no natural predators and favourable conditions, feral animals have successfully flourished, out-competing native species for food and shelter. These pests have also contributed to a dramatic decline in native species populations and in the worse case scenarios even extinction. In Australia most feral animals were brought in deliberately, including the European Rabbit, European Red Fox and the Cane Toad. These invasive pests have had a major impact environmentally, socially and economically.
The main feral animals of concern in Pittwater and the Northern Sydney Region include:
Impacts of feral animals
Compete with native animals for food and shelter. For example, Indian Mynas are known to displace small native birds by taking over nesting habitats. Destroy native animal habitat.
The larger vertebrate pests such as cats and foxes prey on ground dwelling mammals and birds. For example, anectodal evidence has shown that cats have impacted on the local Squirrel Glider population in Avalon. Cause soil erosion – rabbits.
They spread diseases (e.g tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis in foxes).
Feral pests such as rabbits can destroy suburban gardens, while Indian Mynas are responsible for noise pollution and leaving droppings. Local shopping areas, particularly food outlets and cafes, have been inundated with Indian Mynas, becoming a nuisance to the local community. Economic Impacts
Council spends thousands on feral animal control, particularly on Rabbit control as it is now a problem throughout Pittwater in bushland as well as urban areas. Northern Beaches Council has also been extensively involved in fox control. More recently an Indian Myna control program has commenced with the assistance of local residents.