One of the many unusual elements of the biota of Australia is the concentration of many tens of thousands of feral water buffaloes on the monsoonal plains of Arnhem Land. These animals have been the most prominent faunal component in a 60,000 square mile (155,400 km2) area for more than a century, and comprise the largest free-ranging population of buffaloes in the world, but their significance to the region is still not clear.
Although there has been sporadic harvesting of buffaloes for hides and meat for many decades, well-organized economic utilization has never developed. Because of their size and numbers, the buffaloes play a major ecological role and are considered to be potential hosts for diseases and parasites. On the other hand, they prosper in an area of marginal cattle production, and thus demonstrate unrealized opportunities for expanded economic exploitation.
|Author||McKnight, T. L.|
|Secondary title||Annals of the Association of American Geographers|
|Institution||University of California|
|Pages||759 - 773|
|Region||Australia - national|