Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


S H. Wheeler


Donkeys, Vertebrate pests, Pest control, Kimberley region (W.A.), Western Australia

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Feral donkeys are one of the major limitations to increased pastoral production in many parts of the Kimberley area of Western Australia, where they compete with cattle for food. In addition donkeys are aggressive animals, driving cattle from watering points and better grazing areas. They eliminate perenial plants by overgrazing and therefore reduce the carrying capacity of the range.

Originally introduced as draught animals, donkeys were released when cars arrived; since then they have bred up to large numbers in many areas.

For several years the Agricultural Protection Board has undertaken a programme of donkey shooting from helicopters. Since this is an expensive control method it is essential to assess its effectiveness. For this reason two aerial surveys of donkey numbers have been conducted in the East Kimberley. Further surveys are planned as the programme continues.