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Economics of feral animal control in the NT

Drucker, Adam G., Edwards, G., Saalfield, K. and Zander, Kerstin K. (2008). Economics of feral animal control in the NT. In: Saunders, G and Lane, C 14th Australiasian Vertebrate Pest Conference, Darwin, 17-20 May, 2008.

Document type: Conference Paper

IRMA ID 83950043xPUB97
Author Drucker, Adam G.
Edwards, G.
Saalfield, K.
Zander, Kerstin K.
Title Economics of feral animal control in the NT
Conference Name 14th Australiasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Conference Location Darwin
Conference Dates 17-20 May, 2008
Conference Publication Title 14th Australiasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Editor Saunders, G
Lane, C
Place of Publication Canberra
Publisher The Vertebrate Pests Committee and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Publication Year 2008
Start Page 82
HERDC Category E3 - Conference Publication - Extract of paper (internal)
Abstract Exotic pest animals have major economic, environmental and social impacts across Australia (Commonwealth of Australia 2007). In a major review of the most significant threats to biodiversity in the NT (covering fire, feral animals, pastoralism, weeds and land clearing), the highest ranked threat across all regions was related to the presence of large feral herbivores (Price et al., 2007). There are 19 species of exotic vertebrate pests in the Northern Territory. Donkey, horse, cane toad, Arabian camel, pig, water buffalo, fox and cat are considered major pests because they have a high level of overall impact at current densities and distributions. A cost-benefit analysis was carried out with regard to feral animal control activities for the above species plus rabbits and wild dogs. Based on expert opinion obtained through a series of workshops, and with a view to achieving the NT Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM) Plan goal by 2020, specific control strategies for all the main feral species in the NT were identified. Two different aerial control strategies were modelled for large feral herbivores and pigs. Trapping/baiting, eradication and exclusion strategies were modelled for the remaining species. The direct economic benefit to the pastoral industry of large feral herbivore control was also modelled. Considering only the large feral herbivores (camels, horses donkeys, buffalos) for which the most reliable data was available, the total present costs of a control programme was calculated to be approximately $28.1m over a 20 year time horizon (given a 5% discount rate). This is equivalent to an annualised present cost of $2.26m. However, costs are frontloaded, with 50-75% of total funds over the 20 years having to be spent in the first 5 years. While such control costs are large, they are far outweighed by the direct economic benefit to the pastoral industry from reduced competition between livestock and large feral herbivores. The net present benefits of a control programme are thus estimated to be in the region of $180.7m over 20 years, equivalent to an annualised present benefit of $14.5m p.a. This may well be a lower-bound estimate of the benefits of control, as currently unquantified environmental and cultural benefits are also likely to be important. Based on a sensitivity analysis, the robustness of the results suggests a strong argument for implementing a comprehensive feral animal control programme sooner rather than later. Further work to provide an additional level of detail upon which implementation of such a control programme could be carried out is likely to be highly justified. A more in-depth study is also urgently needed with regard to rabbit and pig control costs.
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Created: Thu, 14 May 2009, 16:07:56 CST by Sarena Wegener