Myth 19: Wilderness is overrun by feral animals and weeds and is degraded
Myth: Wilderness is overrun by feral animals and weeds and is degraded (Peter Cochrane, MP 2004)
Truth: Ferals and pests occur state-wide. They are much less prevalent in well-preserved wilderness areas (especially where there are no roads). Under park management, control measures occur where needed (e.g. ‘Willows out of Wollemi’). There has been evidence of ‘docked’ (having ears removed so dogs cannot hold them down) pigs being released by hunters into wilderness to support feral animal numbers. While no absolutely ‘pristine’ wilderness remains on the Australian mainland, wilderness areas are the best that is left, and should be managed to recover (or ‘rewild’) its natural condition. Wilderness by definition is the least degraded areas that remain. To argue it has no value because it is not ‘pristine’ is simply a ruse to argue for further exploitation of our last remaining large natural areas. It is also an attempt to build fear and hatred of such places amongst local communities, many of whom may not visit wilderness themselves.
Russell Kilbey (not verified)
Sun, 06/03/2012 - 18:54
How does one manage fire, weeds and animals in a wilderness area???
This form of transport is the most energy intensive/expensive available and is clearly not sustainable.
It seems will will always have to manage these areas so how do we do this without roads or helicopters?
We use horses.
Mon, 06/04/2012 - 17:20
Why would you assume it is by helicopters? Most management of wilderness is about stopping things getting into wilderness by management from outside. Regarding weeds there is the Willows out of Wollemi program and in the Grose the Great Gorse Walk where walkers control weeds. Yes helicopters in NSW are used in fire management for wilderness, just as they are for all natural areas. There are also management roads in national parks outside wilderness and even some inside wilderness (not open to the public). Mostly they are not actually used for management however. Certainly, given that horse are ungulates with foot pressure 20 times a walker, which bring in exotic weeds into natural areas in Australia, they are the last thing we want in wilderness areas here! Of course currently the NSW government has just proposed a trail for horse riding in wilderness areas, due to lobbying by the horse lobbying. This government has also just approved hunting clubs to shoot feral animals in national parks, and this was even too much for national park staff who held a protest outside cabinet in Bathurst this morning!
russell kilbey (not verified)
Thu, 06/14/2012 - 15:47
I can only speak of the land management I have been involved with but it seems feral animals and weeds both need to be controled. How do parks workers transport equipment and material into remote areas without the use of helicopters which besides the cost need somewhere to land. Ive noted your desire to engage in a dialog not a monlogue. Would camels be better?? or Alpacas???
Unfortunely their is little expertise with these.