The development of target-specific vertebrate pest management tools for complex faunal communities


  • Andrew Bengsen,

  • Luke K.-P. Leung,

  • Steven J. Lapidge,

  • Iain J. Gordon

  • Andrew Bengsen is completing his doctoral research with the University of Queensland, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems (CSIRO Davies Laboratory, PMB PO Aitkenvale, Qld 4814, Australia; Tel: +61 4 3874 6294; Email: Luke Leung is a lecturer with the School of Animal Studies at the University of Queensland (Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia; Email: Steven Lapidge is Leader of the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre's Uptake of Programs and Strategies Program (Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, 48 Oxford Terrace, Unley, SA 5061, Australia; Email: Professor Iain Gordon is Leader of the Healthy Terrestrial Ecosystems Theme in CSIRO's Sustainable Ecosystems Division (CSIRO Davies Laboratory, PMB PO Aitkenvale, Qld 4814, Australia; Email: The project is part of the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre's Daintree Demonstration Site project: Control of Feral Pigs in Tropical Rainforest.


Summary  The efficacy of vertebrate pest control in complex faunal communities can be compromised by adverse impacts on non-target species. We present a five-step framework to guide the design of pest control programmes to overcome this constraint.

The model consists of: (i) selection of the most appropriate basis for control; (ii) identification of opportunities to prevent non-target species from interacting with control activities; (iii) classification of non-target species by dissimilarity to the target pest; (iv) use of a recognition systems approach to identify further differences between pests and non-target species; and (v) experimental evaluation of prototype control methodologies. Application of the framework to the problem of feral Pig (Sus scrofa) control in the tropical forests of the Daintree region in north Queensland identified six design features which, if successfully evaluated and implemented, could allow the implementation of strategic, sustained Pig control using poison baits where it has previously been unacceptable.