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Pest animals

Australia has the highest record for biodiversity loss anywhere in the world. Since the arrival of Europeans, more than 110 plant and animal species have become extinct. Much of this loss has been caused by pest animals. There are 56 species of pest animals in Australia, with rabbits, cats, dogs, foxes, pigs, mynah birds and cane toads considered the worst in environmental and economic terms. The challenge is to find ways to reduce the numbers of these pest animals to help restore native biodiversity and reduce losses in the agricultural industries.

On this page

Controlling rabbits

Rabbits have devastated the Australian environment. They have changed ecosystems by eating native plants, out-competing native animals and causing erosion by digging warrens. Domestic rabbits are also a threat if they escape. Owners of domestic rabbits have legal obligations under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019.


Thank you to all of our local landholders who collected rabbit baits from one of our twelve rabbit management days this year! Now we have had some autumn rains, and green feed is becoming readily available, the best time to lay baits has come to an end.

From Friday 28 April 2023, we will not be selling pindone-treated carrots again until summer. The exact date will depend on weather conditions, but it’s likely to be early-mid December.

In the meantime, there are important things you can do to manage your rabbits:

• Destroy or collapse warrens and remove shelter, clean up piles of green waste, prunings and branches, and deal with those piles of pallets.

• We have a smoker that can be loaned out to find all the entrance points – you may be surprised to see how large a warren complex can be.

• Talk to your neighbours and get them involved to achieve wider rabbit control in your area.

We’re always available to provide advice on rabbit management so don’t hesitate to call us on 8391 7500


Are you having problems with feral rabbits? Summer is the ideal time to control rabbits on your property, using Pindone-treated carrots. This new step-by-step video guides you through how to bait using this method. If followed correctly, you’ll be rewarded with a significant reduction in rabbit numbers.

A release of K5 Calicivirus in late summer/autumn is a great way to start a control program, see the step-by-step instructions in the video below.

K5 rabbit calicivirus control program

Download these fact sheets:

All the bait active ingredients sold by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board are regulated by the APVMA. To limit the potential for off-target impacts we have a list of mitigating strategies for landholders such as pre-feeding, using dyed Pindone carrot baits, laying of baits in the evening, picking them up the next morning and disposing them via deep burial. Dead rabbits should also be deeply buried to avoid animals feeding on the carcasses.

If you suspect that your pet has eaten Pindone treated carrots then take it to the vet immediately. There is a small window available for the administration of an antidote.

Your vet can also help with advice about calicivirus vaccination and ways to prevent the risk of exposure for pet rabbits.

Controlling foxes

Foxes are recognised as major predators and are a threat to Australia’s native animals. They also affect sheep farmers during lambing season and can cause concerns for the community around pets and unsecured poultry.

Information on the control of foxes is available:

Updated Material Safety Data Sheets for 1080 products are available on PIRSA's website.

Controlling deer

Within the Hills and Fleurieu region, escaped fallow deer have become feral and are increasingly being reported. These animals have an impact on primary production, pose a biosecurity risk, cause environmental destruction and are a social pest. The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board aims to reduce the escape of domestic deer by inspecting deer farms every two years. If you see tagged deer on your property please either notify the board or your local deer farm. Tagged deer are classified as feral if they are not retrieved within 7 days of the farmer being notified. Feral deer are the responsibility of the landholder to manage if you need advice please contact us at our Mount Barker office.

Controlling goats

Goats arrived in Australia with the First Fleet in 1788 as a source of meat and milk. Feral goat herds established when domestic goats escaped, were abandoned or were deliberately released. Feral goats are now found in all states and territories of Australia, as well as some off-shore islands. They cost the agricultural industry millions of dollars each year and pose a significant threat to biodiversity and landscape health. They decimate pasture, crops and fences, cause erosion to hillsides and watercourses, spread weeds, prevent regeneration of native vegetation and impact our vulnerable ecosystems. 'Competition and land degradation by feral goats’ is listed as a key threatening process under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Feral goats also pose a serious health risk to humans, livestock and native animals. They can spread notifiable diseases such as footrot, and possibly even exotic animal diseases (such as foot-and-mouth) if introduced to Australia. Feral goats have no natural predators in the Hills and Fleurieu. This, combined with their fast reproductive rate, means they are very high in number, and need to be controlled.

Regional Grazing Pressure management of feral deer and goats

Grazing pressure from large herbivores can have substantial impacts on primary production, native vegetation, and threatened flora and fauna. The Regional Grazing Pressure Management project implements a strategic and coordinated approach to reducing the impacts of feral goals, feral deer and impact-causing western grey kangaroos in the Hills and Fleurieu region.
In partnership with National Parks and Wildlife Service SA, Primary Industries and Regions SA, Forestry SA, SA Water and private landholders, the project delivers grazing pressure management through specialist staff-led operations, and the use of contractors and volunteers to deliver targeted outcomes. We are working towards an eradication target for feral goats in our region, and supporting PIRSA with their 10-year SA feral deer eradication program.

If you see any feral goats or deer, it's really important to report it.

How to report sightings of feral goats or deer

The FeralScan website allows the reporting of feral species sightings, and will trigger an alert to our grazing pressure management team, who can better understand where sub-populations are residing and how to best plan control programs.

Alternatively, contact Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu on 8391 7500 or email

What is being done to manage pests?

The Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board has a clearly defined approach to managing pests. The pest management hierarchy recommends management actions for target pest plants and animals. This helps improve detection and response to new and existing pests based on their invasiveness, impact, potential distribution and feasibility of containing it.

Read more about our Regional Grazing Pressure Management project here.

You can request a free property visit for advice on pest management. Please contact one of our offices - Mt Barker 83917500 or Willunga 8550 3400.

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