Countdown to Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference

An authoritative line-up of speakers from around the globe have been pencilled in to appear at the 17th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference. The event, which goes ahead every three years, will take place at the Hotel Realm in Canberra from May 1 to 4. It is an occasion convened by the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee (IPAC), with the previous meeting held in Brisbane in 2014. This year’s gathering has been organised by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, in conjunction with the Australian and ACT Governments.

The focus of the get-together will be the necessity for innovative and evidence-based lines of attack in vertebrate pest animal control. It is crucial to implement solutions for Australian farmers, land managers, industry and government to combat this environmental scourge and ground-breaking approaches can come in a variety of shapes and forms.

With an estimated 81 introduced vertebrate species having cemented their presence within Australia, there need to be immediate and specific steps taken. Examples of the kinds of action that can be followed include the first wild dog and fox toxin bait for 50 years, which was introduced in 2014. There has been a breakthrough DNA detection method to systematically trace invasive predators and fish. Researchers are also on the verge of creating a new rabbit biocontrol agent after 20 years, as well as developing the country’s initial use of a similar process to curb the damning effects of carp on our inland waterways. All these pioneering departures are installing no-nonsense means to build up Australian agriculture, biodiversity and enhance our economy.

To take this crusade to its next stage, scientists and on-ground managers, including keynote speakers, will outline their theories in Canberra. The leading speakers will include Dr Dan Tompkins, Portfolio Leader, Managing Invasives, Landcare Research (Maori: Manaaki Whenua), Dunedin, New Zealand; Dr Kurt Vercauteren, Supervisory Research Wildlife Biologist, National Wildlife Research Center, US Department of Agriculture, Colorado, USA; Andreas Glanznig, Chief Executive, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, University of Canberra; Professor Paul Martin, Director, Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law, University of New England, Armidale; and Dr Michelle Christy, National Incursions Response Facilitator, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.

Also submitting a contribution will be SSAA Wildlife Programs Leader Matt Godson. Matt’s abstract will look at community involvement in pest control and detail a case study of accredited volunteer shooting programs. Matt will point out that the SSAA has a proud history of engaging volunteer shooters to use their unique skill set to undertake pest control activities for both conservation and asset protection purposes. “Conferences such as the AVPC bring pest management people together,” said Matt. “Shooting is commonly discussed at these events as a pest control option.”

Full conference registration includes entry to the welcome reception from 6pm in the Ostani Bar at the hotel on Monday, May 1, the conference dinner at 7pm on Tuesday May 2, plus all sessions, exhibition and conference catering. The total cost is $935 via early bird booking, which runs until February 3. From February 4, the fee rises to $1100. Registration for full-time students is available for $550. Single-day registration can be bought for $550 per day or $190 for students.

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