Australia’s first National Feral Cat and Fox Management Coordinator will lead the fight against feral pests, arming landholders, farmers, Natural Resource Management Groups and environmental NGOS with best practice solutions and coordinated action on the ground.
Gillian Basnett has been appointed in the role with the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS).
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said Ms Basnett will focus on seven priority bushfire-affected regions across south-east Australia and priority species.
“The damage done by feral predators is horrific, with feral cats alone killing an estimated 596 million reptiles, 92 million frogs, 316 million birds and 964 million mammals every year,” Minister Ley said.
“Following the Black Summer bushfires and the destruction of millions of hectares of habitat, many native species have been left even more vulnerable and unprotected, placing added pressure on wildlife.
“Feral animals also have a devastating effect on agriculture, resulting in the loss of up to $800 million per annum in terms of production losses and control activities across Australia.
“Ms Basnett brings years of experience on feral cats and foxes to the National Coordinator role where she will raise awareness of the importance of feral management and the best practice control methods that are available to land managers.
“The recovery and resilience of threatened species will be increased through greater stakeholder cooperation, sharing of information, and improved data between states, Natural Resource Management groups, farmers and NGOs.
“Together, we will work to promote regional humane and effective feral control measures and the science that informs those measures.”
The National Cat and Fox Management Coordinator role will build upon current CISS initiatives, including a feral cat management glovebox guide, national standard operating procedures, and a Feral Cat Scan monitoring and management tool, all available through the PestSmart Feral Cat Toolkit.
Funding for the National Cat and Fox Management Coordinator is part of a $811,000 grant from the Australian Government’s $200 million Bushfire Recovery package to CISS for strategic coordination of best practice pest management.
This funding will also provide further support to the National Deer Management Coordinator to promote best practice deer control efforts to help native species and their habitats recover from the bushfires.