I’ve recently been doing research on whether owning a caracal is illegal in Australia (I shouldn’t have bothered). It was very hard research because the documentation provided by Australian administrations was poor. What I found was a continual reference to “pests” and “invasive species” or “alien species” or “non-native species”. To Australians non-native species are ‘pests’ and highly dangerous to their indigenous or native species. As a consequence, you can’t own them without permits, if at all, and the conditions will be onerous.
The two greatest non-native, pests on the Australian continent according to the administrations of the territories and states of Australia are feral cats and foxes. They simply want to kill them as fast as possible but they know they can’t get rid of them and they completely ignore the cruelty of the process.
They also completely ignore the ironic status, namely that they themselves, humans, are the most destructive non-native species in Australia by a long margin. Humans are non-native to Australia. The white humans began to colonise the continent in the late 18th century when Lt James Cook charted the east coast of Australia for Great Britain. So white Europeans are non-native to Australia.
Aboriginals are also non-native to Australia. It is believed that the first humans migrated to Australia from Asia using primitive boats and that those early migrants themselves came out of Africa about 70,000 years ago. These are the Aboriginal Australians, the oldest population of humans living outside Africa.
All the humans on the Australian continent are non-native. What does non-native mean in the context of Australia? It means that the animal or human-animal did not evolve in Australia. To be native to a place the creature has to evolve in that place pursuant to the laws of evolution. It’s presence in that place is the result of only local natural evolution.
Conclusively, therefore, humans are non-native to Australia and an invasive or alien species. They are the most destructive in terms of wildlife conservation of all the species living on that continent. This is partly due to the creation of global warming through burning fossil fuels. We know that Australia is a great producer of coal and therefore Australians contribute to global warming in a significant way. We know that the human population of Australia is growing leading to the destruction of wildlife habitat due to the creation of human settlements. And Australians like to shoot things. It’s just in their DNA.
In recent times, Australia has suffered horrendous wildfires destroying millions of acres of wildlife habitat and, conversely, suffered from devastating floods. These extreme conditions have been put down to global warming by the experts. It is estimated 3 billion small native animals were killed in the wildfires. Feral cats could never have achieved such devastation in such a short space of time.
When the spokespersons of the governments of the six states of Australia bleat on about non-native species like feral cats preying on small native mammals and marsupials, they are being very hypocritical.
One such marsupial is the cute numbat. It is also known as the banded anteater. They have no defence against feral cats. They live in the state of Western Australia and as at 2015 their entire population was estimated to be 1000. The Western Australia environment minister said that: “Control of feral cats is one of our biggest challenges in protecting our threatened animal species.”
What about control of humans as an even greater challenge in protecting your threatened native animal species?
Below are some more pages on invasive or non-native species.