Vertebrate pests cost Australia at least $1 billion annually in lost agricultural production and environmental damage. The spectacular success of myxomatosis in the 1950s and more recently, rabbit hemorrhagic disease, in the biological control of European rabbits has led to ongoing research into similar solutions for other vertebrate pests. There are significant barriers to the successful employment of biological control options including the obvious technological ones, such as host-specificity, as well as the investment required, public concerns and regulatory requirements. The role of biological control in vertebrate pest management and the attempts to develop such strategies in Australia is reviewed with emphasis on species specific case studies for rabbits, cane toads and carp, and the generic approaches of immunocontraception and daughterless genes.
- biological control
- vertebrate pests