Glenn Edwards: 'Defining the feral camel problem'. Reducing feral camel impacts across remote Australia: Australian Feral Camel Management Project Session 1 - From science to solutions

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To see Glenn deliver this presentation, go to our Youtube site at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCIfHwoYzvo

To see Glenn deliver this presentation, go to our Youtube site at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCIfHwoYzvo

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  • 1. Reducing feral camel impacts across remote Australia: Australian Feral Camel Management Project 21st November 2013, Parliament House Theatre, Canberra
  • 2. Session One: From Science to Solution Speakers: Tom Calma, AO – Chair Ninti One Glenn Edwards – Northern Territory Government Quentin Hart – Ninti One, Australian Feral Camel Management Project Roger Smith – Chair Australian Feral Camel Management Project Steering Committee
  • 3. Defining the feral camel problem Glenn Edwards
  • 4. Presentation outline 1. History of camels in Australia 2. Recognition that feral camels are a problem - Early research and survey work - Camel action plan workshop - Overview of DKCRC research
  • 5. 1. History of camels in Australia • First importation 1840, last importation 1907 • Domestic population peaked in 1922, size unknown~20,000 • Establishment of feral camels post 1920 Mob of feral camels, Durham Downs Qld 1966
  • 6. 2. Recognition that feral camels are a problem Early research Ecology and behaviour • Dörges and Heucke (1995, 2003) Diet, examined impacts on vegetation at different stocking rates • Grigg et al. (1995), Edwards et al. (2001) Movements -
  • 7. Early population survey work • 1969 McKnight questionnaire survey • 1980-83 Short et al. (1988) aerial SA, NT, WA - 43,000 camels in Australia. Low precision. - WA 50%, NT 27%, SA 23% • 1984, 1993, 2001 aerial NT only 100,000 Number 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 Year 1990 1995 2000 2005
  • 8. Camel action plan workshop Alice Springs April 2005 • Debate over how many camels and whether there was a problem • Recommended development of integrated national approach to managing feral camels
  • 9. Desert Knowledge CRC research 2006-2008 Aims • Clarify distribution, abundance, movements and population dynamics • Clarify key stakeholder perceptions • Evaluate impacts • Review the options available for managing these impacts • Make management recommendations
  • 10. Key findings: population dynamics • Camels occupy 3.3M square km • Estimate of 953,000 camels in 2008 • 43% Aboriginal land, 22% pastoral land, 10% conservation land, 25% crown land • Population doubling every 9 years
  • 11. Key findings- perceptions Pastoral/conservation Aboriginal • Conservation- pest, pastoral- pest and resource • 84% of pastoral properties with camels engage in some form of management (mostly culling) • Limited commercial harvest • Woody weed control • Culling seen as wasteful but …..concerns over impacts • Many saw camels as a resource = jobs • Camel meat not widely utilised • Little management undertaken (some fencing of waterholes) • Limited commercial harvest
  • 12. Key findings- impacts Positive • Iconic species • Tourism • Historical perspective • Economic resource • Woody ‘weed’ control Photos courtesy J. Brian 2005
  • 13. Negative impacts- cultural, social (not costed) • Road accidents • Safety • Disease risk
  • 14. Negative impacts- economic • Estimated impact cost of $7.15M annually for infrastructure damage and lost production on pastoral land alone
  • 15. Negative impacts- environmental (not costed) • Methane
  • 16. 2007- large scale movement of camels onto pastoral leases and Aboriginal settlements in western deserts
  • 17. 9 2 Damage cost ($/km ) 25 8 20 15 10 11 5 74 14 0 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.2-0.3 0.3-0.4 >0.4 Density category (camels/km2) The relationship between the mean value of infrastructure damage reported by pastoral landholders over the period July 2005-June 2007 and the estimated mean density of feral camels on the property. Note: the figures are sample sizes. Range is standard error.
  • 18. Key findings- management options • Available/used – humane destruction (culling) – commercial harvest – exclusion (limited application) • Not used, not available or not appropriate – chemical, biological, fertility control
  • 19. 2008- the problem defined Camels distributed over very large area (3.3M km2) Camels very mobile and move over large areas Camel population increasing Camels have undesirable impacts above density of 0.1-0.2 camels/km2 • Camel density over large proportion of range (~30%) exceeds threshold for undesirable impacts • Land owners/managers perceive a problem exists but views vary on what is best/acceptable management approach • Market failure wrt commercial use • • • •
  • 20. Key findings- management recommendations • Manage to long-term target density of 0.1-0.2 camels/km2 at regional scales to reduce impacts • Incorporate key assets to allow priority setting • Cross-jurisdictional and collaborative approach to management needed • Zoned approach taking into account density (~imacts), landholder views and aspects of different management approaches • Address issues underpinning market failure
  • 21. www.nintione.com.au