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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

2 July 1999

NEW CONTROL PLAN TARGETS FOUR BIGGEST FERAL PESTS


Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today launched Australia's first co-ordinated strategy to protect native species from the nation's four most destructive feral pests.

Senator Hill said foxes, rabbits, goats and cats pose significant problems, both in terms of land degradation and long-term survival of many of our precious native species.

"Together they represent a serious threat to 46 endangered plants and animals in Australia, and are thought to contribute to reductions in the numbers of at least 84 more threatened and endangered species," Senator Hill said.

"The eastern barred bandicoot, the greater bilby, the loggerhead turtle, the green and gold bell frog and a number of acacia, grevillea and orchid are among the species at risk from these indiscriminate predators.

"The Government's management plans for these four feral pests come in the form of threat abatement plans, which have a strong focus on humane methods of control at critical sites.

"These aim to reduce predation by European red foxes and feral cats on native animals to levels compatible with the long-term survival of the species, and to reduce the threats posed by competition and land degradation by feral rabbits and goats."

Senator Hill said the Federal Government had already provided funding through the Natural Heritage Trust to develop humane baits for feral cats, in co-operation with the Victorian and West Australian Governments.

"The success of the threat abatement plans will depend on co-operation between various levels of government in this manner, combined with group action by all relevant land managers, private and public."

Senator Hill said the release of these plans satisfies a requirement of the Commonwealth Endangered Species Protection Act 1992.

"Historically there has been much emphasis on the effect of feral animals on the agricultural sector. These reports examine threats to endangered wildlife and will improve the ability of land managers to reduce the impact of feral species on many of Australia's unique plants and animals."

Contacts:
Rod Bruem (Senator Hill) (02) 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582
Gerry Maynes (Environment Australia) (02) 6274 2388

Copies of the reports are available by contacting Environment Australia on 1800 803 772 or on the Department's Web page at http://www.biodiversity.environment.gov.au/plants/threaten/plans/threat_abatement_plans/index.htm

Commonwealth of Australia