Arnhem Land rangers launching an ambitious cull program are hoping to undo years of rampant buffalo growth in an attempt to stop further environmental damage being inflicted by feral pests.
Remote floodplains of Arnhem Land have become a battle ground as rangers use helicopters and high-powered rifles to cull feral water buffalo.
They kill up to 3,000 a year, but say that needs to more than double, just to maintain current population growth. The estimate they need to cull is 5000-6000 per year. Just to maintain what is currently present.
ABC news interviewed Djelk ranger’s on the current state and the program that they are trying to implement.
The number of buffalo in the Maningrida area alone has quadrupled over the past 15 years. Current estimates putting their numbers up to 20,000.
According to the traditional owners and Djelk rangers the floodplain use to be as smooth as a bowling green. Now it is covered in hoof prints and wallows as far as the eye can see.
They believe that the system is not healthy anymore with 80,000 buffalo feet making impressions daily.
“Ideally we’d like to get buffalo numbers down to early 2000 levels where you had 3,000 to 5,000 buffalo … which is plenty for people to hunt and eat and is a manageable number.”
It is a shame that the buffalo cannot be used as a resource for the live export or meat market. It would be great to see cull permits issued to the public for a hunt which would be well out of reach for a lot of Australian hunters.
These are easy ideas to throw around and no doubt these would bring a whole new set of problems for the rangers and traditional land holders. Never the less, it would be great to see these ideas considered and the animals used as a meat/hunting resource.
Further Reading on the Cull and park management