We cannot return endangered animals back to the arid zone
if we don't learn how to tackle feral animals
Of all the dramatic changes to Australia over the last 200 years, nothing has been more devastating for native wildlife than the introduction of feral cats and foxes. These species threaten more native animals than every other threat combined. And they are tenure blind: they affect all land tenures, be they urban, agricultural, or national park.
In Australia, feral predators have been most damaging in the arid and semi-arid zones. Of these, the southern part of the continent from outback South Australia to southwest Western Australia has fared the worst. This area has generally carried the highest densities of cats and also of rabbits. It also has the lowest rainfall. While in some parts of the country native animals vulnerable to cat and fox predation have persisted, very few survived in the region around Arid Recovery.
Feral predators are the greatest concern for Arid Recovery’s mission to reintroduce native wildlife to the arid zone, and are therefore our greatest priority for research. Our goals are to understand how feral predators are so effective, and to test smart targeted ways of controlling them. It is our hope that this research will be useful to wildlife conservation well beyond our patch in outback South Australia.
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