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 Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP)

The Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP), formerly the Australian Pest Animal Management Program (APAMP), is funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and administered by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Rural Sciences (ABARES). APARP funds research projects that develop and promote improved approaches to the management and monitoring of agricultural pest animals. The program is aligned with the goals and objectives of the Australian Pest Animal Strategy.

The main objectives of APARP are to:

  • develop integrated, strategic approaches to manage the impacts of nationally significant pest animals on agriculture
  • improve the effectiveness of control techniques and strategies for reducing pest animal impacts on agriculture
  • produce guidelines and extension materials for the best practice management of nationally significant pest animals
  • quantify the benefits of pest animal management.

Priority pest species include those addressed by the ABARES 'Managing Vertebrate Pests' guidelines, as well as the species recognised as priorities in the Caring for our Country business plan (available from What is Caring for our Country?) where they have demonstrated agricultural impacts. APARP also considers projects that quantify the impacts of native species (e.g. flying foxes) on agricultural production and develop approaches to reduce these impacts. In addition, economic, environmental and social assessments of large-scale on-ground pest animal management (e.g. Caring for our Country projects) to quantify their benefits, have also been identified as a priority.

2011-12 APARP projects

Thirteen research and extension projects were funded in 2011-12.

2011-12 projects

Project title and objective


A 'Calicivirus Map of Australia' for Improving the Effectiveness of Rabbit Biocontrol

Rabbit serum samples from different sites across mainland Australia will be analysed for the presence of both the benign calicivirus and RHDV. These data will be used to map the distribution and boundaries of the two caliciviruses. The knowledge gained from these analyses is a prerequisite for the development of new, more tailored rabbit management strategies for affected areas.


Development of Australian Best Practice Trapping Guidelines for improved animal welfare and pest animal management outcomes

The aim of this project is to develop national best practice trapping guidelines which prescribe acceptable trap types and techniques to maximise the humaneness and effectiveness of pest animal trapping. It will also provide recommendations to bring about the rationalisation of traps in Australia, an unresolved issue identified by a number of government and non-government organisations.


Vertebrate Pesticides: An Australian Guide

This project will produce a publication containing relevant information on all the currently registered vertebrate pesticides in Australia. The information will be presented in a consistent style and coverage, and include data on the physical and chemical properties, mode of action, usage, antidotes, symptoms, welfare implications, non-target risks including potential primary and secondary poisoning, as well as environmental risks. A key objective will be to demonstrate to the community the depth of knowledge which applies to the registration and use patterns of vertebrate pesticides in Australia.


Demonstrating the potential resilience of fox populations to landholder coordinated baiting programs for agricultural protection

This study will monitor fox population densities, the movements and fates of individual foxes, and baiting effort to assess the resilience of fox populations to coordinated 1080 baiting programs for livestock protection.

How do foxes affect, and are they affected by, cooperative aerial baiting for wild dogs?

This project aims to determine how foxes are affected by aerial baiting for wild dogs. GPS collars will be fitted to foxes prior to aerial baiting to quantify the impact of aerial baiting for wild dogs on a known fox population utilising livestock production areas. Following aerial baiting, it will be attempted to detect and collect carcasses of collared/marked foxes to assess the number of baits taken by individual animals. This information, together with data from remote activated cameras will be used to monitor bait uptake and allows for an estimate of the proportion of wild dog targeted baits being removed by foxes.

Online education tutorials and multi-media on pest animals for landholders, landcare, education groups, local government and community

Develop a series for online education and information tutorials (via short multi-media films with an expected duration 3-5 minutes each) on pest animal management issues for access online by web-users anywhere in Australia. These will be developed to target species of national significance and include, damage caused by pest animal, control techniques available, development of pest management plans and additional resources available to land managers.

Determining the availability of individual, aerial deployed baits to wild dogs

The aim of this project is to increase the efficacy, and contribute to best practice, of aerial baiting for wild dogs in Australian rangelands. It will do this by assessing the availability of individual aerially deployed baits to wild dogs across several commonly baited landforms. This project will make a significant contribution to improving the efficacy of aerial 1080 baiting for wild dog control.

Effects of a chemosterilant on gonadal function of wild house mice (Mus domesticus)

This project aims to assess the effects of a chemosterilant, 4-vinyl-cyclohexene diepoxide (VCD), on the reproductive function of wild house mice. These proof of concept studies may be used in the future to develop alternate rodenticides for use as a crisis management tool.

Aerial deployment of infrared sensors for quantifying feral pig abundance and distribution

This project will validate the use of infrared sensors and aerial surveys as a means of accurate and rapid assessment of feral pig populations. The use of infrared sensors is expected to provide enhanced detection rates for quantifying target animals whilst minimising the inherent complications associated with observer error and environmental variables. The outcomes of this research will be directly applicable to the detection of feral pigs across a wide variety of habitats and environments both within Australia and worldwide.
Murdock University

Maximising the potential of improved biological control for rabbits

This project will directly contribute to national programs that aim to control rabbit populations by improving our understanding of the suitability and efficiency of management options. The key elements to this proposal are to derive population estimates for wild rabbits at multiple monitoring sites that cover a wide geographical area encompassing variable climatic and land-use conditions. The project will maximise the potential of future rabbit biological control by informing management of the most strategic location(s) and time(s) to release RHD-Boost (and any subsequent more virulent strains developed in the future).

Building capacity for the management of invasive animal impacts

This project will allow specialist support to be provided to NRMs and land managers to help develop the knowledge and skills required to implement an integrated approach to reduce the impact of invasive animals now and into the future. It will involve bringing public and private land managers together to adopt best practice management techniques to reduce the impacts of invasive animals.

Population control and adaptation to trapping in Indian mynas, Acridotheres tristis: mechanisms and recommendations

The project will examine whether intensive trapping of mynas is correlated with behavioural shifts in mynas by determining to what extent mynas from highly trapped areas differ in behaviour from mynas that range in areas that have undergone low levels of trapping. It aims to identify the mechanisms of behavioural change by determining whether trapping preferentially removes bold individuals and whether trap avoidance is culturally transmitted within and across generations.
University of Newcastle

Estimating the success of vertebrate pest eradication and control programs

This project aims to develop methods and demonstrate how disparate types of data collected (perhaps) haphazardly in space and time can be quantitatively used to make inference about the underlying vertebrate pest population under control. It aims to demonstrate how the proposed inferential techniques may be used to monitor and inform vertebrate pest control programs in real time and communicate the technique to stakeholders.

2010-11 APARP project

2010-11 projects

Project title and objective


A triple bottom line analysis of returns on investment in wild dog management

To quantitatively evaluate the economic, environmental and social impact of wild dog management and to assess the costs of investing in wild dog management to prioritise future investments in management of this pest.


Future APARP funding rounds will be advertised on this website.  Please contact the APARP coordinator for more information.

2009-10 APARP projects

Twelve research and extension projects were funded in 2009-10.

2009-10 projects

Project title and objective


Capacity building for best practice management of invasive pests: learning to protect Australia's future

To develop and expand the current Diploma skill-set in pest animal management and significantly increase the extent to which damage due to pest animals is addressed using coordinated approaches, consistent with the Australian Pest Animal Strategy.

University of Canberra



Development of a Standard Operating Procedure and a training package for the field immobilisation of Large herbivores in Judas control programs

To develop a standard operating procedure to ensure the humane, safe and efficient field immobilisation of feral donkeys and feral camels, and to develop and implement a training package for field operators.

Department of Food and Agriculture (WA)



Trapping Introduced Predators for the Protection of Biodiversity and Livestock an Instructional DVD

To develop and produce an instructional DVD to be implemented nationally that will assist field operators to become competent and more confident in the use of nationally approved trapping devices for the control of introduced predators including wild dogs, foxes and feral cats.

Invasive Animals CRC



Registering an orally deliverable antidote to methaemoglobin inducers

The aim of this project is to determine a safe and effective methylene blue dosage that can be administered orally as an antidote to methaemoglobinaemia caused by lethal PAPP or sodium nitrite poisoning of domestic dogs.

Invasive Animals CRC



FeralScan - Web-based community reporting, education and extension tool for landholders and community groups

Develop community¨Cbased web reporting tools for addressing major gaps in current reporting frameworks and have direct benefits to landholders, community groups and individuals managing pests and their impacts. This will allow easier access for industry, government and community to report on pest animals and their impacts.

Industry and Investment NSW



Facilitating Strategic Management of Wild Dogs throughout Australia

To raise the profile of cooperative wild dog management across Australia; develop and promote management planning consistent with best practice; create national networks among management groups, managers and researchers for a more rapid flow of information; identify priority areas for management and research; and identify and develop education programs and extension material.

Invasive Animals CRC



National mapping of introduced pest bird species throughout Australia

To develop improved Australia-wide datasets for priority pest bird species that can be used for monitoring, evaluation, reporting and program improvement by regional NRM groups and land managers.

Industry and Investment NSW



Livestock Guardian Dog\Wild Dog Interaction Study

To investigate the movements of guardian dogs in relation to sheep and adjacent wild dogs and the degree to which guardian dogs and wild dogs intermix, to assess if there is any interbreeding between guardian dogs and wild dogs and to recommend best practice guardian dog management.

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (QLD)

PestSmart: Development and promotion of farmer, landcare and regional end user pest animal capacity building and management packages

To identify preferred communication and capacity building pathways and existing adoption networks and use these to develop and promote PestSmart information toolkits for pest animal managers.

Invasive Animals CRC



Prioritising Vertebrate Pests on the Brink of Introduction and Establishment Using Bayesian Networks

To develop 'Bayesian Belief Networks' to predict the likelihood of establishment in the wild of selected species groups, to prioritise these species for risk management strategies, to provide these species lists to the Vertebrate Pests Committee and affiliated agencies and produce education and publicity material (e.g. National Pest Alerts) for an agreed group of high-priority species.

Department of Agriculture and Food (WA)


Identifying corridors, refuges and entry points for starlings at an invasion front

Determine the presence/absence of starlings in new habitats, identify potential habitat corridors used by starlings for dispersal, to inform management and guide strategic response(s) to starling incursions and encourage community monitoring.



Evaluation of Spatial Data Capture and Information Systems for Invasive Species Management

This project will document and compare information systems currently available, or with the potential, to collect and share data on the distribution, abundance and management of invasive animal species in Australia. This will also take into account the role of the public, Regional NRM groups, and agencies in collecting and sharing data; effectiveness of information systems in understanding pest animal distribution, abundance and impacts; and opportunities for improving the efficiency and cost effectiveness of data collection and management through the use of these information systems.

Department of Agriculture and Food (WA)



Future APARP funding rounds will be advertised on this website.  Please contact the APARP coordinator for more information.

APARP Background

Vertebrate pests such as rabbits, foxes and feral goats now make up over ten per cent of Australia's mammal species. They have adapted and spread into most of Australia's agricultural systems and natural environments. None have been eradicated, despite considerable effort. With available control techniques, it is unlikely to be technically, economically or socially feasible to eradicate any established, widespread vertebrate pest from the Australian mainland. Therefore the focus of APARP is on strategic, sustained best practice management of pest animals where they are causing actual rather than perceived damage.

Principles underlying APARP:

1 Managing actual rather than perceived impacts

Often impacts have not been quantified. For some situations, APARP would prefer to support 12-month pilot projects to define basic pest ecology (for example, relating movements and density to damage), nature and extent of impact, and, the stakeholders involved in the problem. Monitoring agricultural production responses to pest control during the management phase of field projects should provide some quantification of pest animal impacts and the effectiveness of management strategies.

2 Impact-based management rather than pest-based management

In some situations there are more technically, economically and socially feasible ways to reduce damage than killing pest animals (for example, pruning parrot-damaged bluegum trees can be more effective than some other methods). Additionally, the relationship between pest density and resultant damage is not well known and is often not uniform, so reducing pest animals down to a target density may not achieve an expected or proportional reduction in damage. Even at low densities, for example one rabbit per square kilometre, may prevent native species which are used for shelter by livestock from regenerating. So, reducing rabbit numbers may not achieve the desired improvement in agricultural production or resource/ecosystem condition. The focus of APARP is not on removing pest animals as such, but reducing their impact in effective, efficient and acceptable ways.

3 Strategic management

Management should be strategic in terms of:

  • defining the problem to be managed
  • determining the appropriate scale and timing of management measures
  • implementing a long-term strategy rather than a one-off management measure
  • considering a combination of control techniques rather than relying on a single technique.

4 Group management rather than individual management

Managing pest animals at the local or regional scale reduces problems with pests repopulating areas where they have already been controlled and increases the efficiency of management. It is also important to involve all stakeholders in defining management problems and implementing solutions.

5 Commercial use where appropriate

Commercial use of pest animals (for meat, skins and other products) may improve the economic feasibility of pest management and is a useful management technique if it reduces pest densities to a level where damage is adequately reduced or if it is used as the first stage of a higher level control program.

6 Humane techniques and strategies

APARP will support the development of more humane pest management techniques and strategies where their efficacy and cost-effectiveness are likely to be comparable to existing approaches.