In 2019, the FeralScan program, led by NSW DPI staff member Peter West, ran 54 workshops across the country. Thanks to Peter’s efforts, there are now over 22,000 members of the public that have signed up or used FeralScan for reporting problems with pest species in their local area.
FeralScan is also supporting 365 groups, including landholder associations, community-groups, local government councils, and regional biosecurity groups, to effectively map, monitor and showcase the success of their management programs (pre and post control).
Users of FeralScan can view a live dashboard of pest records in their area, consisting of charts and tables summarizing trends in pest activity. They can receive or send alert notifications from FeralScan to their landholder network and biosecurity groups, which is helping landholders to quickly report wild dog attacks on livestock to their local biosecurity officers. People are also using FeralScan to record information about rabbits, wild dogs, foxes, cane toads, feral camels, goats, feral cats, mice, feral pigs, myna birds, starlings, 6 deer species, and pest fish.
Professional pest controllers are increasingly using FeralScan to map their control activities, and to work with farmers and community groups. This ensures they can focus their efforts where the problems are most serious. There are over 70 professional pest controllers using FeralScan.
New facilities are being developed for communities to record feral donkeys, feral horses, and less well known species such as introduced Red-eared slider turtles and American corn snakes, that have been detected in metropolitan, urban and regional areas of Australia. Recent changes to FeralScan have also allowed it to be used on Christmas Island and Norfolk Island to support monitoring programs for feral cats.
The most recent addition to the FeralScan suite is DeerScan – which provides a single avenue for landholders and the community to record where they are seeing or experiencing problems with deer. It has been developed in response to rising concerns from farmers, landholder groups and the community about the negative impacts of deer. There are six species of introduced deer in Australia, and DeerScan received more than 1,700 new sightings from concerned members of the public in its first 6 months of use, helping to inform biosecurity agencies and community groups where to prioritise management action. In NSW, Cumberland Land Conservancy member Linda Brown is an avid user and advocate of DeerScan and said that knowing more about the distribution, rate of spread and the damage deer cause is imperative to ensure their Western Sydney community can take focused action to reduce the impacts deer are causing.
They started using DeerScan as an additional tool to assist in mapping the damage they cause, while also using wildlife monitoring cameras to measure sightings and abundance. DeerScan is helping them take an integrated approach for their community-led monitoring and management program. They use DeerScan to work closely with neighbouring landholders and NSW Local Land Services.
You can visit Feralscan and download the app here