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Feral herbivores at Mornington-Marion Downs
Mornington contains the second largest feral herbivore-free area in Australia (the largest is at AWC’s Wongalara sanctuary). Within this 50,000 hectare feral-free area, threatened small mammal populations have increased significantly: a massive achievement given the contrasting 75% decline in small mammals at Kakadu.
Across the rest of Mornington-Marion Downs, feral herbivore densities are low. There are no goats or camels and very low numbers of pigs. Donkeys and feral horses are present, but active ongoing control by AWC has reduced densities to insignificant levels.
The major land management challenge is the removal of feral cattle.
In 2014, AWC removed 1,910 feral herbivores, mainly feral cattle, from Mornington-Marion Downs. This was achieved by mustering and culling.
AWC is implementing a nationally significant initiative to establish an area of intensive feral herbivore control across 850,000 hectares, including an area of the adjacent Tableland Wildlife Sanctuary. This will require extensive strategic fencing and periodic mustering/culling.