FeralScan wins top national environmental award

The FeralScan community pest animal mapping and monitoring program has been recognised with one of Australia’s top environmental honours, receiving the Minister’s award for a cleaner environment in the field of research and science excellence.

The award, sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy, was announced last night during the 2016 Banksia Foundation Awards ceremony in Sydney.

Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IA CRC) CEO Andreas Glanznig said that FeralScan, a digital platform technology through purpose-built web- and SmartPhone Apps, is an integral part of our PestSmart best practice management system and toolkit.

“FeralScan enables communities to map and monitor pest animal sightings and impacts, to underpin effective community-led regional pest management (such as through WildDogScan and RabbitScan).

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) research officer and IA CRC FeralScan program manager Peter West, was humbled to receive the award on behalf of all the program partners, stakeholders and users.

“Thanks to the strong support from our stakeholders, communities and individuals all around Australia the FeralScan program has collated more than 65,000 new community records about pest animals, and has been used by over 25,000 Australians.

“Our program has brought over 160 local landholder and Landcare community groups online to work cooperatively to monitor, map and control pest populations.”

“The future for FeralScan is certainly bright, with the Program now equipped to monitor rabbit biocontrol agents present around Australia through its ‘report disease functionality’ and will be integrating new farmer alerting technology to assist in notifying farmers of nearby pest threats, enabling greater protection of agriculture and biodiversity from pest animals,” said Mr West.

NSW DPI Acting Deputy Director General Biosecurity and Food Safety Peter Day, welcomed the recognition of the FeralScan program.

“FeralScan is a vital innovation that empowers communities to be part of the solution in pest animal management.

“One of the most powerful aspects of the program is that information recorded by the community is delivered directly into the hands of land managers, farmers, indigenous groups, and biosecurity stakeholders all over Australia, so that management can be tailored to their region at any given time,” said Mr Day.

FeralScan currently hosts community engagement and citizen science programs for feral cats (FeralCatScan), wild dogs (WildDogScan), rabbits (RabbitScan), introduced pest fish (FeralFishScan), foxes (FoxScan), house mice (MouseAlert), feral camels (CamelScan), feral pigs (FeralPigScan), Indian Myna birds (MynaScan), feral goats (FeralGoatScan), European Starlings (StarlingScan) with more coming in 2017.

For further information about FeralScan visit www.feralscan.org.au and further information about the Banksia Awards can be found here – https://banksiafdn.com/2016-winners