Deer species belonging to the genera Cervus (eg, Red Deer) and Dama (eg, Fallow Deer) are currently declared as pest animals in the ACT. Red Deer and Fallow Deer are categorised as extreme threat species with extreme pest risk status in nationally-endorsed risk assessments1,2.
It is proposed to make a new pest animal declaration to add species of the genera Rusa and Axis for the purpose of including the six deer species with established wild populations in Australia. Representative species of Rusa and Axis, including Chital Deer (Axis axis) and Rusa Deer (Rusa timorensis formerly Cervus timorensis), are both categorised as extreme threat species with extreme pest risk status in nationally-endorsed risk assessments3,4.
The addition of the genus Rusa will declare Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor, formerly Cervus unicolor) as a pest animal in the ACT. There is no nationally-endorsed risk assessment for Sambar Deer, and although documented evidence of environmental impacts is limited, it is accepted that this species poses risks similar to or greater than other deer species. Anecdotal reports of environmental damage from Sambar Deer are beginning to be received in relation to areas of Namadgi National Park, even though population numbers are currently low. Research to quantify actual impacts of Sambar Deer is currently being undertaken by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Parks Victoria.
The declaration of Axis species, which are not established in the ACT, is aimed at mitigating any potential incursion from NSW or deliberate introduction from an Australian jurisdiction.
Note that declaration of a species as a pest animal does not by itself impose a requirement for land managers to control the species in the ACT. A requirement to control deer would need to be prescribed in a legislated Pest Animal Management Plan or through amendment of the
ACT Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005.
Declaration of cats as Wild Cats
Predation of wildlife by cats is recognised as a Key Threatening Process under the
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) and is the subject of a national Threat Abatement Plan5. On 15 July 2015, environment ministers from all Australian jurisdictions agreed to remove any unnecessary barriers to the effective and humane control of feral cats in their jurisdictions6. New technologies currently under development for baiting feral cats7 should facilitate control programs once they have been approved for use by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.
It is proposed to declare cats that are not owned by people as pest animals in the ACT. Cats will be declared as ‘Wild Cats’ to be consistent with other pest animals currently declared as ‘Wild’ because animals of the same species are also kept by people as pets or livestock. Declaration of Wild Cats would allow for the development of a Pest Animal Management Plan under the ACT Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005 should the ACT Government consider this beneficial.A Pest Animal Management Plan can be used to prescribe the area for control and the methods to be used in mandatory government-coordinated cat control programs.
Ornamental fish species are assessed for their potential risk as pest animals by the Freshwater Fish Expert Group of the national Invasive Plants and Animals Committee. High-risk ornamental fish species are included on a national noxious fish list with the agreement of all Australian jurisdictions. The purpose of the national noxious fish list is to prevent the sale and keeping of species that would adversely impact on communities, fisheries or the environment if they were to establish wild populations. Where wild populations are already established in some areas of Australia, listing helps to prevent further spread of the species to uninfested areas.
It is proposed to add all nationally-listed noxious fish not currently declared as pest animals in the ACT to the pest animals declaration (see list at end of document). The majority of fish species are declared as ‘Prohibited’ pest animals to prevent their supply or keeping, with the exception of Carp which are indistinguishable from Koi Carp kept by people. Gambusia spp. and Weatherloach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), which are already declared as pest animals in the ACT, have been declared as ‘Prohibited’ pest animals to discourage activities that could lead to further spread of these species.
One group of related species known as Tilapia (Oreochromis spp., Sarotherodon spp. and Tilapia spp.) are declared as ‘Notifiable’ as well as ‘Prohibited’ pest animals. ‘Notifiable’ pest animals need to be notified to the Director-General of the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate within 2 working days after the day of detection in the ACT. One species of Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) is listed by the IUCN as one of 100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species and an incursion of this species has recently been detected in northern NSW. Tilapia can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions and have been recognised for their invasive potential in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Declaration of Redfin Perch
Redfin Perch (Perca fluviatilis) is not included on the national noxious fish list but it is intended to declare this species as a ‘Prohibited’ pest animal because of its known and potential impacts in the ACT and other Australian jurisdictions.
Redfin Perch prey on other fish and invertebrates, can destroy fisheries in enclosed water, and carry Epizootic Haematopoietic Necrosis (EHN) Virus which they can transmit to susceptible native fish including the threatened species Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica) and Silver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus). Redfin Perch is common in lowland waters of the ACT. The purpose of declaring this species as ‘Prohibited’ from supply or keeping is to discourage activities that could lead to the spread of Redfin Perch into uninfested waters in the ACT.
Declaration of Redfin Perch as a pest animal is consistent with its classification as a Class 1 Noxious Fish in NSW. Heavy penalties apply to possessing, selling and importing live Class 1 Noxious Fish in NSW.
Addition of ‘Prohibited’ status to declared European Wasp and European Red Fox
The European Wasp and the European Red Fox have been declared as pest animals in the ACT since 2005. It is intended to declare them as ‘Prohibited’ pest animals to discourage reckless supply, reckless use of machinery, keeping or reckless disposal of these species under the provisions of the ACT Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005. These are activities that are likely to lead to further spread of these species in the ACT. As the European Wasp and European Red Fox are not kept as domestic pets or livestock, the majority of the ACT community would be unaffected by this declaration.
Fish species proposed for addition or amendment in the new pest animal declaration The following table does not include those fish species already declared as pest animals for which the declaration will remain unchanged. Currently declared fish species can be viewed at
http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/di/2005-255/default.asp Fish species already declared as pest animals that will have their declaration amended to reflect name changes or changes in declaration status are highlighted in yellow.
Acestrorhynchidae family Acestrorhynchus microlepis