Pest or Guest: The Zoology of Overabundance
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Ian Temby, 2007. "Pest or guest - some perspectives of abundant wildlife in Victoria", Pest or Guest: The Zoology of Overabundance, Daniel Lunney, Peggy Eby, Pat Hutchings, Shelley Burgin
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Dramatic changes to Victorian landscapes and faunal assemblages followed the arrival of Europeans. Many species of birds and mammals declined or disappeared from large parts of their former ranges. Conversely, these ecological changes provided opportunities for a small number of species and facilitated range expansions and/or population increases, leading to a diverse range of conflicts with human interests. Cockatoos (Long-billed Corellas Cacatua tenuirostris, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos C. galerita, Little Corellas C. sanguinea and Galahs C. roseicapilla) are the cause of much concern and political activity to appease farmers. Recommended management strategies arising from a Parliamentary inquiry are contrasted with the politically influenced reality. Noisy Miners Manorina melanocephala contribute to dieback in eucalypts by aggressive exclusion of smaller insectivorous birds. Management options are limited to strategic culling and extensive planting to enlarge remnant vegetation and reduce the edge to area ratio. Australian Wood Ducks Chenonetta jubata numbers have increased sparking calls for increased bag limits during the duck open season and for management to reduce alleged fouling of pasture and dams. There is little evidence to support claims of pollution or the need to control numbers but this message falls on deaf ears. Grey-headed Flying-foxes Pteropus poliocephalus are locally abundant yet Nationally threatened and cause significant damage in orchards, creating management challenges. A range of other native species create their own particular challenges, while populations of four species of introduced deer, protected under the Victorian Wildlife Act 1975, appear to be expanding rapidly, their status as highly prized game species complicating efforts to understand their impacts and manage their populations. Management of each of these species or species groups is influenced by factors that reflect the history and politics peculiar to that situation.