Living with introduced species

Many introduced species are better able to tolerate our urban environments and are therefore more likely to persist, even after our climate has changed. These introduced species can cause serious threats to our natural environment.

Common pest species in Moonee Valley include the European rabbit, red fox and Indian/Common Myna.

Common Myna

The Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) is native to Asia and India. It was introduced to Melbourne in 1862 in an attempt to control pests in market gardens.

An intelligent and aggressive bird, the Common Myna has been able to thrive in urban environments because of its adaptability. As we modify the urban environment, it has become increasingly unsuitable for many of our native species, and opportunistic and adaptable species have flourished, such as the Common Myna, Starling and Blackbird.

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Above: The Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)

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Above: Our native Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) often confused with the invasive Common Myna

Moonee Valley has, and continues to, increase habitat that encourages and favours native species. This both supports native wildlife and reduces the preferred habitat and foraging ground of the Common Myna. While this may not result in rapid removal of the Common Myna, we believe it is the best strategy for long-term success.

How can I help deter pest bird species?

  • Remove suitable vegetation such as exotics and replacing with native alternative
  • Remove access to nesting sites such as roofs, eaves and nest boxes
  • Common Mynas are accomplished scavengers so feed pets inside and limit food left outside (such as poultry grains and food scraps)

European rabbits

The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is native to north-western Africa, Portugal and Spain. Rabbits were introduced to Australia in the late 1850s for hunting, and quickly established themselves to Australian conditions.

They live in complex burrows and warren systems where they shelter and breed. They are prolific breeders, and can reproduce quickly if food and shelter are in good supply. Rabbits are herbivores and eat a variety of plants resources, and can cause significant damage to gardens. Burrowing can also cause erosion and undermine structures.

How to reduce the likelihood of rabbits living around your property:

  • Reduce shelter by restricting access under houses and sheds and uplifting thick vegetation
  • Install rabbit-proof fencing to protect garden beds and newly-planted trees
  • Backfill warrens and monitor regularly to address re-openings
  • Engage a licenced pest animal controller

European red fox

The European red fox (Vulpus vulpus) is native to the northern hemisphere and was introduced to Melbourne in the 1850s for sporting purposes.

They range from 4-8kg and are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. They hunt for meat and insects, as well as scavenging road kill, plants (seed, fruit and berries) and human refuse.

Foxes readily survive and prosper in urban environments. They can be a nuisance by raiding garbage bins for food, attacking poultry, digging holes and passing disease on to domestic animals.

In urban areas, traditional control methods are limited as baiting and shooting are not possible. The best approach is to limit available food and shelter. We have a program of removing weeds containing fruit, such as Boxthorn and Sweet Briar Rose and Blackberry, which are commonly found in fox scats.

You can also help deter foxes by:

  • Registering sightings at FeralScan
  • Protect fruit and berries and regularly harvest
  • Secure household rubbish and compost
  • Not leaving pet food accessible including, meat, bones, biscuits and grain
  • Keep pets secure from foxes, especially poultry, rabbits and guinea pigs
  • Prevent access to under houses or other structures

Fruit flies

Queensland fruit flies are a serious pest, which when left uncontrolled, can destroy many different types of fruits and vegetables.

We have had reports of Queensland fruit fly in the local area and encourage you to take precautions in your own backyard to catch them early.

Removing unwanted produce, harvesting early, covering trees with nets or bags, or baiting and spraying can discourage fruit flies.

The most effective way to manage the pest is to work with your neighbours and combine monitoring with several of these management strategies.

Visit Agriculture Victoria for more information on how to protect your garden produce and stop fruit flies from spreading.

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Last updated: Monday, 31 December 2018, 12:49 AM