Natural plagues need to be well managed

Natural plagues need to be well managed


Plague proportions of flying foxes, mice, galahs, foxes and cockatoos need better management through government.


An astute farmer might think the kangaroo explosion has finally hit the big smoke with a kangaroo hopping down the Sydney Harbour Bridge in peak hour recently, but agriculture experiences many explosions in wildlife - from flying foxes, mice, galahs, foxes and sulphur crested cockatoos, all in huge numbers.

Natural pests: Part of a colony of grey-headed flying foxes (fruit bats) which are similar to the ones that invaded Batemans Bay recently. Photo:

Natural pests: Part of a colony of grey-headed flying foxes (fruit bats) which are similar to the ones that invaded Batemans Bay recently. Photo:

Equally alarming is to discover the Government has added a further 49 species to threatened and endangered lists, farmers are at the forefront of species protection but when the numbers get out of balance management is important.

Tragically governments are fearful of animal libbers who mainly hail from cities where threatened species and plagues have minimal impact but politically they are a powerful force.

The flying foxes plagues are becoming endemic invading communities and schools across the eastern seaboard.

The recent invasion of Batemans Bay, a popular tourist destination, left houses covered in guano and if you ventured outside you felt a disgusting “sprinkle” of something.

One resident said she could not open her window as the smell was so bad you can taste it. One can only hope the Canberra bureaucrats who holiday there experience what the locals have been putting up with

A recent inundation at Inverell stripped all the vegetation along the river making it look like a skinned rabbit. The CSIRO tell us there are 680,000 grey-headed flying foxes in Australia and breeding at prodigious rate.

Huge flocks of sulphur crested cockatoos and galahs decimate not only germinating cereal crops but also roost trees and planted seedlings. Anyone who has had one as a pet knows they will eat through any wood or plastic and can be damaging to phone  lines. With cropping expansion, bird numbers have increased substantially with huge numbers now in some areas.

By far the most destructive to farmers are the kangaroos with an estimated 50 million in Australia and 17 million in NSW with the Government department responsible limiting the annual harvest to 15-17 per cent, depending on the species and where it is.

As farmers know it is illegal to shoot roos without a permit and only 360,000 were harvested last year, even though a quota of 2.5 million was approved.

Recent research by both Australian National University and Deakin University supports the claim they are having an impact on agriculture and the environment by affecting the diversity and cover of shrubs and the quality of habitat for native species

It is naive in the extreme to think we can modify the natural world as man does and not affect the natural breading cycle of these species, and If do gooders in Sydney and Canberra continue to try to apply restrictive management rules on trying to control some of these species eventually it will become an unmanageable problem not only on the social and economic aspect but on the survival of the species themselves.

- Mal Peters


From the front page

Sponsored by