Biological Pest Control Saving Farmers Millions

An article regarding farmers saving millions of dollars through the use of biological pest control.

Yes it is wonderful. At least for the moment.

If only they were as dedicated to fixing two of the greatest FUs similar thinking has perpetrated on the nation.

Firstly the introduction of the South American Cane Toad to Queensland.

The second the introduction of sexually capable pine trees to plantations (Pinus radiata, Pinus elliottii sp, etc). All of which have escaped into surrounding agriculture and natural bushland.

Not the only biological mistakes of our recent history, but two we can’t squarely put back on old England’s desire to Anglicise our local environment and game hunting sports.

As well as the third and fourth huge mistakes Rabbits and cats which continue to cause huge decimation of native flora and fauna. Add goats, camels, horses, donkeys, pigs etcetc etc…when anything non native goes feral or gets out of control eg as it did with Prickly Pear, well the environment suffers badly here. Flow on effects are much more than monetary loss but that’s probably one of the easier ways to account for the damage. Then there is the terrible after effects of a previous policy “Terra Nullius” which saw the Traditional Land Caretakers and their effective controls removed, this damage continues and I don’t think there is much hope of turning the larger part of that damage around anymore.

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A list of 12 feral species in Australia along with their staggreing numbers.

The list omits many others including deer, wild dogs, rats, mice, carp, Indian Mynah birds, sparrows, doves, European Starlings, Asian house geckos, European honey bees, European wasps, fleas and ants.

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Another article regarding the damage caused by introduced animals and plants in Australia.

Of course the headline bears little relationship to the actual study referenced in the comically inept ABC article.
Interestingly, no mention of the economic impact of the introduced invasive SARS-CoV-2.

True, ‘Extinction’ is forever!

How we assess each situation, is open to what we value most. Native wild life or human existence?
Climate change impacts might trump all including Covid.

How might the ABC have done better, assuming there is agreement?

The headline link, with picture of a tabby cat, is " Our bill for feral cats comes at $18 billion…".
Note: the amount in the link posted by fred123 here of $13.5 billion has morphed into $18 billion on the ABC site.
When you go into the article the headline is “Invasive species have cost Australia $390 billion in the past 60 years, study shows”.

So now we are getting to the gist of the science article, a comment on a published research study.

But then, the opening sentence starts with “They trample fragile environments and devastate crops”. Well show me a cat, feral or otherwise, that does either of those things and I will argue that you don’t know what a cat is.

So, where does the $18 billion figure come from for cats? Apparently it is the cost of population control. By who? I can’t imagine farmers or graziers being particularly concerned about cats, in fact could be very welcome by those affected by the current mouse plague.
Doesn’t matter because no attempt is made to explain this number apart from a pretty graph sourced from Flinders University, but again no attempt to explain the data.

Finally, we have the wrap up sentence.
“What this study really empasises is that the invasive species are a huge drag on efforts by farmers and industries to lift agricultural productivity”. Again, where do feral cats come in?

In my opinion, a bad ‘science’ article that links the problem of feral cats to the problem of invasive species affecting agriculture where no such link is supported.

It is interesting to note that these figure are significantly more (factor of 30-40+ times greater) and the figures released by the Australian government. The most recent conservative estimate puts the national economic impact of pest animals, particularly in agricultural systems, at between $720 million and $1 billion annually, in production losses and public and private management costs..

I am not disputing the ABC article, but these figures seem to be extremely high and possibly the journalist should have asked the government’s Invasive Plants and Animals Committee why there is a huge disparity in the reported figures and those calculated by experts within the government.

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