Rabbits top list of Australia’s 10 worst invasive species

By Australian Geographic 21 February 2019
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Surprised? Rabbits have come in at number one according to a new report on the worst invasive species.

A NEW REPORT by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub has narrowed down 10 invasive species with the worst impact on our native flora and fauna.

The top 10 list was based on how many threatened species a pest impacted and it produced some surprising results.

The research, published in Pacific Conservation Biology, found that rabbits were the number one pest impacting over 300 threatened species.

Second on the list is the Phytophthora plant disease, which is known to affect over 200 threatened native plants. And feral pigs came in at third, affecting around 150 threatened species.

Surprisingly, cats were fourth on the list, affecting 123 threatened species. Their impact on medium-sized mammals, reptiles and birds is well known.

“Nationally we don’t often talk about feral pigs, but we should,” says lead researcher Stephen Kearney. “Pigs destroy vast areas of crops, wetlands and floodplains in northern Australia. They even dig up and eat sea turtle eggs and hatchlings along beaches.”

Another surprise was feral goats coming at number 5, before the European red fox, which tied with lantana, both affecting 95 threatened species.

“Foxes are frequently in the media, but feral goats actually affect more threatened species, with 95 and 116 species impacted respectively.

“This does not mean foxes are not a problem, it means there are also other really problematic pests out there that as a community we have not been talking about as much,” Stephen says.

The full list can be seen below:

Australia’s 10 worst invasive species

Threatened Species Recovery Hub

(Credit: Threatened Species Recovery Hub)