Feral donkey

Donkeys were introduced to Australia from Africa in 1866 to work as pack animals. 

Feral donkeys are common in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory (NT).

It is estimated there are tens of thousands of feral donkeys in the arid zones of Central Australia, Western Australia and the Top End. 

They are able to tolerate various environmental conditions and produce a foal every year, so the population can increase quickly with good conditions. 

Impact

Feral donkeys are a serious threat to the natural environment. 

They can increase erosion of soil and waterways, spread weeds, trample native vegetation, eat native seedlings, cause sedimentation of water bodies, destroy infrastructure and compete with native species and domestic cattle for resources.

Management

Feral donkeys can be managed by doing any of the following:

  • trapping or mustering to sell them commercially
  • aerial culling - this is the most effective, environmentally friendly and humane way to remove large animals, though this needs to be done by someone with extensive training
  • on-ground culling - this is humane and cheap, though it is limited to accessible areas
  • fertility control - this is difficult to use on large numbers of feral donkeys and treatment needs to be repeated to be effective.

Last updated: 28 November 2017