Buffalo

Buffalo may look like big, cuddly, slow-moving animals; they are anything but. Buffalo can weigh as much as 1,300kgs, and will run at speeds up to 60kph (over three times faster than humans) and can jump over objects up to 1.2 metres high. They are agile and very good swimmers and have been seen swimming many kilometres off the coast as they travel between mainland and islands.

They can travel over 40kms in a single night and eat up to 40kgs of green fodder in a day.  Buffalo have exceptional vision, hearing, and sense of smell. They are most aggressive during their mating season in late February and March, and calving season is usually around December and January. 

On the Nhulunbuy Town Lease we usually only see “bull” or male buffalo. These buffalo are solitary however there are time when you may see a small group of younger buffalo bulls hanging out together. 
Most of the time, buffalo seem to tolerate the presence of people, but if you venture too close, they have been known to lash out.

Buffalo have caused deaths and casualties around Nhulunbuy and vehicles are usually written off when there is a collision with one.  

Hunting is illegal on any Dhimurru IPA, RioTinto and Nhulunbuy Corporation land. If you see a buffalo around Nhulunbuy, please call Nhulunbuy Corporation Animal Control on 0419 838 064 or altrnatively the NT Police - Nhulunbuy (08) 8987 1333.

“Stay at least 80 metres away from buffalo when on foot and give them some room when you approach them in a vehicle.  All buffalo want, is their space.

Wild Dogs

Wild dogs are common throughout the NT, except for the Tanami Desert where they are rare due to the lack of water.
Packs of dingoes exist in this region where watering points have been introduced such as on pastoral properties, in mining areas and near towns.

Impact 

There are a number of negative impacts caused by dingoes and wild dogs.
•    prey on livestock by causing economic loss to farmers
•    prey on domestic livestock on rural blocks
•    be a menace to tourists and staff at remote tourist resorts and national parks
•    impact the survival of remnant populations of endangered animals.

Feral domestic dogs and hybrids are often more dangerous to humans and livestock than dingoes.
Wild dogs also spread disease such as hydatidosis in cattle and sheep, and heartworm and parvovirus in pet domestic dogs.

Management

Careful management on the Nhulunbuy Town Lease by the Nhulunbuy Corporation is needed to control the number of wild dogs, while protecting purebred dingoes in the wild.
In the NT, wild dog control measures such as trapping, exclusion fencing and shooting have been less intensive than in other states and territories, and there has been little or no change in the distribution of dingoes. 

Feral Cats

Australia is being swept by a second wave of post-settlement extinctions, and the culprit is the feral cat. Cats are estimated to eat 75 million native animals every night and the future for Australian fauna looks bleak. 

Scientists now say the main threat to that biodiversity is the feral cat. It is estimated there are between 15 and 23 million wild cats living around continental Australia and its offshore islands.

It is estimated feral cats eat 75 million native animals a night—more than 20 billion mammals, reptiles, birds and even insects every year.

Feral cats threaten the survival of over 100 native species in Australia. They have caused the extinction of some ground-dwelling birds and small to medium-sized mammals. They are a major cause of decline for many land-based endangered animals such as the bilby, bandicoot, bettong and numbat. Many native animals are struggling to survive so reducing the number killed by this introduced predator will allow their populations to grow.

Feral cats can carry infectious diseases which can be transmitted to native animals, domestic livestock and humans.

Feral cats are the same species as domestic cats, however they live and reproduce in the wild and survive by hunting or scavenging. They are found all over Australia in all habitats, including forests, woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and arid areas. The map illustrates the estimated abundance of feral cats across the country.

Feral cats are predominantly solitary and nocturnal, spending most of the day in the safety of a shelter such as a rabbit burrow, log or rock pile. They are carnivores, generally eating small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects depending on their availability.

Snakes

Snakes are found throughout the Northern Territory in all habitats.

If you have problems with snakes in your property there are a number of things that you can try to reduce these problems:

  • Keep your garden neat and tidy; if you have compost heaps or wood piles keep them well away from your house
  • Control any mice and rats living in or around your house
  • Build snake proof aviaries, fowl yards and other small pet cages
  • Wear long pants and thick boots when walking in long grass
  • Never try to capture a snake, call a professional
  • Contact a registered snake removalist (fees may apply)
  • Seek medical attention immediately if a snake bite occurs

All native snake species are protected in the Northern Territory. For this reason, it is important that members of the public do not interfere with these animals without an appropriate permit. It is an offence to kill a snake unless; “the snake was within 100m of an occupied building; or the defendant proves that they honestly believed that it was necessary to kill or injure the snake to avoid an immediate danger of death or injury to a person or domestic livestock”.

For further information on snakes please click here.

NT Parks and Wildlife website 

The main four species of problem wild animals Nhulunbuy residents may encounter are Buffalo, Crocodiles, Wild Dogs and Feral Cats.  Remote East Arnhem Land also has a large number of venomous and non-venomous snakes and other reptiles.