Sunday Territorian

Feral buff cull a real cash cow


ARECENT study released last week by the Charles Darwin University has found the control of feral buffaloes could be worth millions in carbon offsets, changing the economics of control programs.

CDU and lead author Hugh Davies said this was not about individual ‘bounties’, but about exploring ways to incentivis­e the ongoing control of large feral ruminants. “We’re looking at how feral animal control programs impact future population­s and what that means for methane emissions over the next 20 years,” he said. “This research is an important proof of concept that ongoing feral ruminant control could be financiall­y viable.”

According to the modelling without control, the methane produced by feral buffalo across the study area would increase from the equivalent of 7792 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year to 97,282 tonnes a year.

Limiting the increase of buffalo numbers through annual aerial control could avoid the release of more than 790,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas over the 20-year simulation (taking into the account the emissions released during aerial control operations).

Estimates of the net worth of this abatement were more than $1m a year (after subtractin­g the estimated cost of annual aerial control operations). This outcome could also be applied to feral pig control.

Swine, since they are not ruminants, have the lowest emissions factor of any class of livestock. The Intergover­nmental Panel on Climate Change methane emission factor used by United States EPA to estimate enteric fermentati­on from swine is 1.5kg methane/head/year. This means let’s say 2500 head emit 3750kg (3.75 metric tons) of methane a year, which is equivalent to 79 metric tons CO2 Eq. Or in the case of Australia’s feral pig population of 23,000,000 pigs potentiall­y emit 705,733,333 metric tonnes of CO2 Eq per annum. The numbers of the NT feral pig population weren’t available but if the NT had one sixth of the population it shouldn’t be too far off the mark.

I don’t subscribe to man-made global warming, but if it helps to support more hunting reserves and the Million Dollar Pig (MDP) event, hey I’m a believer.

Treasurer Eva Lawler should instruct Minister Lauren Moss to live up to the promise Lawler made three years ago during the 2020 election campaign and create the hunting reserves she so enthusiast­ically proclaimed following the CLP release of a hunting policy stating the same.

Friday afternoon clay target practice continues at the NT Field and Game range, Mickett Creek Shooting Complex from 4pm and Sunday Mass practice is on this morning from 9am. All welcome.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia