Welcome to FeralFeast! This site has been created to heighten awareness of the damage and destruction that introduced and exotic species can create when they are removed from their natural environment. They can force their way into a foreign and very different and fragile ecosystem, causing immense destruction in their new surroundings.
The problem of introduced and exotic species is not country specific. It is a problem all over the world and it has a heavy impact. Ballast water from ships, soil from the soles of shoes and other interesting pests that use products as their host are all contributing to the invasion of other countries from their native homeland. The global effect is devastating to this fragile planet.
We have focussed on, mostly, domestic animalsí impact on the Australian environment for this site, although plant, marine, birds and reptile species also impact heavily. Bitou Bush from South Africa, Lantana, Prickly Pear and Blackberry are examples of plants that have been introduced into the Australian environment and have taken over in the areas where they have been allowed to gain control. The European Carp is now found to be in plague proportions in the inland waterways of Australia.
The Cane Toad was introduced to control an insect, the Cane Beetle, which was destroying sugar cane crops; however they are now a major problem. The Indian Mynah bird is a major problem for native birds and smaller animals. Initially, there were only 12 pairs of these birds introduced, but now the numbers are so great that they have fast become one of the most common birds that can be seen in suburban areas. They kill young native birds that are still in their nests in order to take over that nest for themselves. They are extremely aggressive birds and are, indeed killers.
Australia has some of the strictest quarantine laws to anywhere else in the world. All wooden, plant, animal, soil and biologic imports are thoroughly screened by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (www.affa.gov.au) and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (www.aqis.gov.au) in order to prevent the spread of foreign disease and exotic pests. Australia is free from diseases such as Rabies, Mad Cow and Bovine Foot and Mouth, which is mainly due to the strict laws and vigilance of these departments. The vast majority of airline flights into Australia, from overseas, have the aircraft cabins and holds sprayed with a pesticide just prior to landing.
Approximately 20 species of mammals, 30 species of birds, 21 species of fish, 5 species of amphibians (water born, but later live on the land e.g. frogs), 500 species of invertebrates (animals without a backbone, e.g. insects), and 1500 species of plants have been introduced into the Australian environment since European settlement, and have multiplied dramatically in the wild.
A feral animal is defined as a domesticated or tame animal that escapes its domestic environs. These animals adapt and become wild and aggressive and the top of the food chain. An exotic animal is one that has been introduced into a new environment through a deliberate placement. The exotic animals were generally useful as sources of food or used for transportation.
The track record of extinction of native plants and animals in Australia is one which is not at all one to be proud of. Much of this extinction has been caused by the introduction of non-native species. It is only due to the passion of some environmentally aware people that the Greater Bilby has been saved from extinction.
Native flora and fauna will only have some chance of survival through thorough education and awareness, teamed with a dedication in the actions and eradication of the pest problems. It will be through this process that the destruction caused by these animals and plants can begin being resolved.