22 000 Black Mambas for Australia?!

2014-02-03 14:44
Cape Town – In an effort to help stop the spread of cane toads, the Australian government has partnered with the Burdekin Shire Council to introduce up to 22 000 South African Black Mambas into farms and urban backyards around the Burdekin.  

Thus read the opening line of a shocking report by the Burdekin Herald early last week.

Luckily we realised pretty soon that something's off and discovered that The Burdekin Herald is actually a satire site, much like The Onion.

Phew! If ever there’s a disaster waiting to happen, relocating 22 000 of Africa’s deadliest snake to a country filled with deadly snakes of its own, is definitely it.  

The satirical article does not, however, just come out of the blue, but is, in fact, poking fun at an aspect of Australian culture that not many people may know about: the obsession with introducing foreign creatures that tend to take over, due to the fact that they have no natural predators.  

The article focuses specifically on the cane toad, which was introduced to Australia from Hawaii in 1935 in an attempt to control the burgeoning population of grey-backed cane beetles. While it may have seemed like a brilliant idea at first, it ended up causing more problems as the toad population started mushrooming due to its own lack of predators.  

Vicious cycle much?

Anyway, so the cane toad isn’t the only critter that got completely out of control… Australia has a WHOLE list of them.

Here you go:

The Red Fox was imported Down Under for recreational hunting in 1855 and soon became the hunter. It is now considered a pest with extreme threat level. There are currently about 7.2 million foxes throughout Australia, and even a small number in Tanzania.  

European Rabbits: much like the Red Fox, the European Rabbit was introduced for recreational hunting purposes. Obviously no one had known about rabbits’ tendency to reproduce – they now number over 200 million and are also considered a pest.  

Dromedary Camel: Brought from India in 1841, these camels were sought after as beasts of burden… what else? There are currently 1.1 million of these feral creatures and they are often subjected to helicopter culling.


Feral goat: Although it’s not clear where exactly they were imported from, goats have become a bit of a problem throughout Australia. As with the camels, the government attempts to keep their numbers in check with helicopter culling.  

Feral cat: Australia probably isn’t alone on this one, as feral cats are a huge cause for concern worldwide. Acquired for pets, cats were first introduced in 1838 and are now considered a pest.  

Brumby: Horses were first brought to Australia from Europe in the late 1700s to serve as work beasts and later from Indonesia and South Africa.  After World War I, the demand for horses by defence forces declined with the growth in mechanization, which led to a growth in the number of unwanted animals that were often set free. Currently there are about 400 000 horses roaming the continent, which are also considered pests due to the damage they cause to the land.  

Feral Pig: Imported from Europe at roughly the same time as Brumbies, the 13 to 23 million feral pigs that roam around Australia are considered pests due to their prolific breeding habits, damaging grazing and potential to spread disease.  

Angry, apartheid-era South Africans: Emigrated to Australia round about 1994 to escape political conflict, some of these creatures carry the threat of contagious bitterness. Need we say more?   
Read more on:    australia  |  travel  |  travel international

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