Feral herbivore control at Wongalara

Feral herbivore control at Wongalara

At Wongalara, AWC has established the largest feral herbivore-free area on mainland Australia.  The 100,000 hectare section of Wongalara was established in 2012, with the construction of around 160 kms of fencing, including sections of electric fence to prevent buffalo incursions.  Over 1,200 feral herbivores – feral cattle, donkeys, horses and pigs – were removed from the 100,000 hectare area.

The second largest feral herbivore-free area on the mainland is at Mornington-Marion Downs, highlighting AWC’s national leadership in relation to the on-ground control of feral herbivores.  At Mornington-Marion Downs, the removal of feral herbivores resulted in a significant increase in the population of small-medium sized mammals.  At Wongalara, we are hoping for a similar response – an extensive monitoring regime is in place to measure changes in fauna and vegetation as a result of the removal of feral herbivores.  An increase in ground cover, and the recovery of riparian habitats, should provide additional food and cover for small mammals. 

AWC’s feral herbivore control program at Wongalara targets the removal of any feral herbivores that manage to access the fenced area over the wet season.  A combination of mustering and shooting is designed to ensure the area remains effectively feral herbivore-free.

Across the rest of Wongalara (outside the fenced area), feral herbivore densities are generally low, although there is ongoing reinvasion especially from Arnhem Land.  Buffalo, pigs, donkeys, feral horses and feral cattle all require management: our annual program of mustering and shooting maintains densities at low levels. 

In 2014, AWC removed 530 large feral herbivores (buffalo, donkeys, cattle and pigs).  This was achieved by mustering and shooting.