Hand held resource allows community to capture feral animal data

The ability for land managers to respond to feral animal impacts got a boost recently as a series of workshops across WA demonstrated the use of the free FeralScan resource.

FeralScan allows landholders to capture sightings of feral animals in their local area, as well as document impacts and control activities for a range of feral animals, such as feral pigs, rabbits and foxes.

The FeralScan resource is available as a website (via www.feralscan.org.au) and phone app, and users can set up private groups to help them work together to monitor pest populations

Connection to the internet isn’t a limiting factor with the app. Out of range? Simply upload records when you return to a serviced area.

The workshops were funded by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and delivered by individual Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBGs) from Dalwallinu to Bunbury.

“It’s been a great opportunity to bring the FeralScan workshops to WA again and partner with RBGs to deliver them. Accurate mapping of data is crucial and RBGs can use this to monitor movement and control of their priority declared pests” said Glenice Batchelor, Biosecurity Officer with the Department.

Presenter Peter West, coordinator of the FeralScan Program, (based at the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions) , spoke to a range of attendees from local government operations teams, NRM officers, local shooting organisations, pest contractors and community members.

“People who monitoring feral animals using FeralScan will be able to view trends in pest animal populations and the impacts they cause, which can be used to guide local control programs,” Mr West said.

“Landholder groups all over Australia are using FeralScan to collect data to assess how feral animals are using the landscape. Having accurate mapping data has helped groups to be more targeted and effective with their control programs.”

Over 60 participants attended three events hosted by the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) over one day during the visit.

“Hosting events in Pinjarra, Mandurah and Waroona in one day was ambitious but the Group wanted to take advantage of Peter’s expertise and knowledge,” said Anneliese Bone, Feral Animal Education Officer for the PHBG.

“The feedback from participants was really positive, and if everyone who attended starts to use the resource, then that's a huge amount of mapping information our Group can use to effectively direct our feral animal control programs and initiatives.

“Teaching landholders in our operational area how to use FeraScan fits in well with our other feral animal control activities like the rabbit control and coordinated baiting programs and restricted chemical permit subsidies” Ms Bone said.

FeralScan it is available for both Android and Apple devices. Recognised biosecurity groups can be contacted for information on how to use this resource and to find out what extra support is available in the control of feral animals.