don't do any good
Not all Australian animals
are good for Australian ecosystems. We have learned only recently that
introducing animals where they are naturally not found can be a very
regrettable thing to do.
You would think that an animal would have
difficulties to survive in an environment it is not adapted to, and it
sometimes is the case, but often it is the other way around.
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What's the Problem with Introduced Animals?
Australian introduced animals thrive better in Australia than on their
home continents. Because Australia lacks large carnivores, introduced
animals have no predators in Australia. Being placental
animals they have larger brains than marsupials
and they are successful killers of
native fauna. They also compete with native fauna for food and habitat.
Some, like cane toads,
kill small animals that they eat, and large animals that eat them
because they are poisonous. Other introduced species that Australia
would do better without are rabbits, feral cats, brumby horses,
camels, donkeys, pigs, goats, buffalos, foxes, rats and deer.
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Rabbits in Australia
When British people first came
to Australia, they thought Australia was a dry and boring place and
needed to liven up a bit. They introduced plants from England to make
the landscape greener and looking more like back in England. In 1859 a
man by the name Thomas Austin thought he'd have a bit of fun and
released 24 rabbits in Australia, in Victoria.
What he didn't consider was that rabbits (Oryctolagus
are known to be extra quick breeders. They spread in no time over wide
areas in south-eastern Australia and today rabbit populations in
Australia cover the whole continent except the tropical north. There is
plenty of perfect rabbit habitat in Australia, and rabbits have become
serious pests that compete for food and habitat with native fauna, and
cause soil erosion and habitat destruction. Like the dingo fence, there
is also a rabbit proof fence in Australia.
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Other Introduced Wild Animals in Australia
would think that people would have learned from that mistake but no –
they got excited about the idea instead. All suddenly they needed deer (Cervidae
and red foxes in the wild for game hunting, they needed cats as their
pets, and some others like rats were taken here on the boats by
accident. It went so far that European animals weren’t enough and
so-called “Acclimatisation Societies” were formed, where some of the
most dangerous and stupid thoughts were thought, like how giraffes
would suit the landscape in central Australia and apes and monkeys
would make the rainforest life a bit more interesting! Thanks god these
plans didn’t go through but red foxes (Vulpes vulpes)
one of the most wide-spread introduced animals, and they prey on native
animals. There are 12 million feral cats (Felis catus)
Australia that constantly kill Australian native birds and mammals.
Rats (Rattus sp.) are found in the coastal areas and
kill small Australian mammals.
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Brumby Facts - Australian Brumby Horses
The early British were also fairly slack to tie their horses (Equus
up properly. The first gold in many parts of Australia was often found
in water streams by boys who roamed the countryside looking for their
escaped horses. Many horses were never found and started breeding in
the wild – today there are populations of feral horses, called brumby
horses, scattered around the Australian continent. Brumby horses
compete for food with native mammals, destroy their habitat and cause
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To help the work in deserts, such as building inland railway lines,
about 10,000 camels (Camelus sp.)
were introduced between 1840 and 1907. But after the work was ready –
the camels were released into the wild! Today, about 100,000 feral
camels roam the deserts of inland and Western
Australia, eating plants that shelter and
feed native animals.
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