Management of wildlife for disease control in natural areas
- School of Applied Science, Canberra College of Advanced Education, P.O. Box 1, Belconnen, A.C.T.
The aims of wildlife management for disease control in natural areas are disease oriented — eradication or control to acceptable levels, but this must be achieved with minimal effects on natural area values. To achieve the aims may involve manipulating wildlife abundance, disease transmission or host susceptibility. The attainment of management aims can be by empirical study and modelling of disease processes. A , combination of the two is described for two host- disease situations; tuberculosis in brushtail possums and foot and mouth disease in feral pigs. Each situation arises from spill-over effects onto surrounding agricultural land, associated with the economic importance of the diseases. A mathematical modelling of each disease predicts a threshold host density below which the pathogen will become extinct naturally. The threshold density of brushtail possums could be very low suggesting that possum population control to eradicate or control tuberculosis may be difficult. The threshold density of feral pigs may be higher, associated with disease differences, and the management aims may be easier to achieve.