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New field guide helps tackle pest animals in a cultural landscape

AN innovative field guide incorporating Indigenous ecological knowledge with contemporary methods of pest animal management is now available free of charge to landholders across the region. Launched today by Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Chairperson Sharyon Peart, together with members of the local Indigenous community, the field guide helps landholders identify Aboriginal cultural places and appropriate ways for managing pest animals at these sites.

“To date, more than 8,000 individual Aboriginal cultural places have been recorded within the Mallee and, as Victorian law protects all Aboriginal cultural places and objects, it is really important landholders have good, clear guidance on how they can deal with pest animals in culturally sensitive areas,” Ms Peart explained.

“The field guide explains what culturally significant sites are – such as burials, middens and scarred trees – and then works through the various methods for treating rabbits, foxes, pigs and goats in these areas.”

Ms Peart said the field guide was the result of more than 12 months consultation and collaboration with members of the local Indigenous community, under the guidance of the Mallee CMA’s Indigenous Facilitators and the Aboriginal Reference Group.

“Throughout this project, local Indigenous people have generously shared their knowledge and information, which has been incorporated into this field guide, together with land managers’ expertise in current control methods for pest animals,” she said.

“The result is a field guide that provides practical guidance on how to manage pest animals, while preserving and protecting cultural heritage sites and values in the Mallee.”

The field guide is titled “Land management practices to preserve Aboriginal cultural heritage values – pest animals” and was supported by the Mallee CMA, with funding from the Australian Government.

“The development of this field guide presented an opportunity to continue building partnerships between government agencies, Indigenous stakeholders and the wider community in regard to caring for our natural resources,” Ms Peart said.

“The result is a user-friendly and practical field guide that is already being used by land holders and land managers across the region, including a large number of Landcare groups in the Mallee.

“By working with Indigenous people to create tools such as this field guide, we are working together to take
meaningful steps toward incorporating Indigenous ecological knowledge in looking after our environment.”

Copies of the field guide are available from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries Complex at the corner of Eleventh Street and Koorlong Avenue, Irymple, or by contacting the Mallee CMA on 5051 4377.

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