EnviroNorth > Darwin-Kakadu > Feral Animals

Feral animals

Major feral animals

Feral pig: serious threat in the Darwin Kakadu region

The feral pig is the most serious feral animal threat in the Darwin-Kakadu region

The feral pig's extensive range in this region and moderate to high densities in the wetlands and sections of Kakadu National Park make it the most significant feral pest for this area. It does have limited economic value for hunters who sell the meat for export to Germany. There are also scattered high-density populations of feral horses in this region which cause problems for pastoralists.

Less significant ferals

In the past, buffaloes caused much damage in the region, some of which is still evident today; however, their numbers have been markedly reduced since the implementation of the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Program so their impact is now far less. High densities of donkeys, in the south, impact in localised areas of the natural environment and on pastoral properties. Cats impact mainly on native animal populations. The most recent feral is the cane toad which is spreading rapidly westwards from Queensland and has spread into the Katherine region and Kakadu National Park.

Feral species that have the most potential to significantly impact on the natural environment or pastoral activities include the following:

  • Natural environment:
    • pig, cat, horse, buffalo
  • Pastoral:
    • pig, horse, donkey, buffalo

Distribution and density

  • Donkey: found in some southern sectors
  • Horse: low densities found mainly inland through most of the region with some scattered high density populations
  • Pig: found throughout the entire region with the highest densities located around the wetlands in the north-east
  • Cat: distributed throughout the entire region
  • Buffalo: isolated populations mostly associated with wetlands and fringing forests, low densities since the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Program (BTEC)
  • Cane toad: is now spread as far west as Kakadu National park.