Feral Focus

Unit 3 : Exterminate!

Despite improved understanding and a greater number of effective pest control methods, we have still been unsuccessful in completely eradicating existing pest animals from mainland Australia. Every year it is necessary to destroy hundreds of thousands of foxes, rabbits, mice, carp, cane toads, feral cats, feral goats and feral pigs because of the harm these animals can cause to the environment and industries.

Student outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • understand that the eradication (complete and permanent removal) of a pest is rarely achievable except in isolated areas such as small, remote islands;
  • understand that the primary aim of most pest control is to reduce the damage that the pest causes to a valued resource to an acceptable level;
  • understand that the cost of controlling a pest needs to be balanced against the return from reducing the damage;
  • develop an understanding for the complexities involved in effective management of the damage due to pest animals;
  • acknowledge the importance of considering animal welfare issues;
  • understand that public perceptions are important and may influence the outcome of pest control;
  • acknowledge that a whole of system approach is required not just a focus on reducing the number of pest animals;
  • understand that the reduction of pest numbers can have both a positive and negative flow on effect;
  • appreciate scientific advances in pest animal management;
  • understand that economic, social and environmental circumstances will often influence the type of pest control techniques used; and
  • recognise that attitudes toward a pest can change with time.

Activities in this unit

The big question

Think about it. If the Thylacine can become extinct, why can't we eradicate the fox?

Run Rabbit Run

Will we ever be free of feral rabbits? Discover the reasons behind our lack of success in eradicating rabbits from mainland Australia.

Peril island (online activity)

Become a park ranger and attempt to restore a remote subantarctic island to its former glory by removing its pest animals.

The problem with carp

Help our river systems. Research the biology of European carp and then design a carp trap that won't disturb the native fish population.