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Q: Are there feral ferrets established in Australia?
A: No. There are no documented cases of ferrets (Mustela putorius furo), or any other mustelid establishing anywhere in Australia. Ever.
The QFWS wrote to several Queensland Councils to ask if there were any known "feral ferrets" within their area of operation.
Mackay City Council: NO
View response from Mackay City Council - 18 August 2004
Gold Coast City Council: NO
View response from Gold Coast City Council - 15 September 2004
Caloundra City Council: NO
View response from Caloundra City Council - 21 September 2004
What about other states in Australia?
The QFWS wrote to states in Australia to ask if there were any known "feral ferrets" within their area of operation.
ACT - NO
View response from Environment ACT - 14 April 2004
NSW Department of Agriculture - NO
View response from NSW Dept. of Agriculture - 31 March 2004
NSW Department of Primary Industries - NO
View response from NSW Dept. of Primary Industries - 17 September 2004
SA Animal and Plant Control Commission - NO
View response from SA - 13 April 2004
SA Department of Primary Industries - NO
View response from SA - 14 September 2004
TAS Dept. of Primary Industries, Water & Environment - NO
View response from Tasmanian DPIWE - 31 May 2004
NT Park & Wildlife Service - NO
View response from NT P&WS - 6 September 2004
"Feral Ferret" Publications?
There have been several books published which mention feral ferret populations in Australia. None of these references are based on fact.
Please see our forum for further details about incorrect publications regarding "feral" ferrets in Australia.
The QLD Government, NRM facts, Pest Strategies Information Sheet 2003 states:
"Pest Animals: These are primarily exotic, introduced animals that damage the environment, and hinder agricultural and community activities. Pest animals include: feral animals - such as pigs, wild dogs, rabbits, foxes and feral goats, ferrets and locusts"
"According to Australian farmers surveyed in 1999, pests are the major cause of land degradation. Weeds were identified by 48% of farmers as their major problem, and pest animal infestation by 34%."
The QFWS wrote to the National Farmers Associations of South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania on 24th July 2004 and asked the following questions:
View Victorian Farmers' Federation response - 6 October 2004
View SA Farmers' Federation response - 30 July 2004
View WA Farmers' Federation response - 27 August 2004
View NSW Farmers' Association response - 30 August 2004
Why a declared pest?
The Queensland Pest Animal Strategy 2002 - 2006 states that ferrets are a Declared animal. Declared pest animals cause, or have potential to cause, a significant and wide ranging impact. Declared pest animals include a wide variety of exotic species, such as all mammals and reptiles not native to Queensland, with the exception of common domestic animals.
The QFWS wrote to the 9 organisations listed as "significant contributors" to the Strategy.
View letter QFWS sent to contributors
View response from Wildlife Preservation Society - 26 October 2004
View response from Indigenous Land Corporation - 12 November 2004
View response from Queensland Farmers' Federation - 6 December 2004
Queensland Department Natural Resources, Mines & Energy
A number of letters have been written to the Dept. NRME regarding the keeping of ferrets as pets in Qld and why they are on the pest list.
View Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Letter - 21 April 2004
View Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Letter - 22 July 2004
View Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Letter - 27 Sept. 2004
The Queensland pest animal strategy 2002 -2006 states pest animals can have an environmental, economic and social impact on the community and the Pest strategies information sheet PP60 September 2003 states the following:
These are primarily exotic, introduced animals that damage the environment, and hinder agriculture and community activities. Pest animals include:
Feral animals - such as pigs, wild dogs, rabbits, foxes and feral goats, ferrets and locusts.
View the QFWS letter to NRME, 16th October 2004 regarding the above.
View response from NRME 18 January 2005