Stop new pest invasions this holiday season

17 December 2015

The Invasive Animals CRC reminds everyone to be vigilant when travelling internationally and domestically to stop new vertebrate pests entering, and moving within, Australia.

More than 80 introduced vertebrate pest species have established populations in Australia and the risk of new incursions is extremely high.

National Incursions Prevention and Response Facilitator for the Invasive Animals CRC, Dr Michelle Christy, said that prevention is the most logical and cost effective stage of the invasion process to direct management effort. But being aware of incursions doesn’t stop at animals; we also need to be on the lookout for plants, pathogens and disease.
“We are working closely with Federal and state governments to put in place strategies to avoid the next cane toad, rabbit or carp invasion disaster in Australia. Established pests are still costing millions of dollars in losses to the agricultural industry and threatening the extinction of many native species. We don’t want to add to the problem by introducing more species,” said Dr Christy.
She suggests these top five tips to preventing new pest invasions this holiday season:

  1. Check your luggage, clothes and shoes for any unusual species of animal (including insects) and plants when returning to Australia or travelling around the country.
  2. If you are purchasing plants or animals from outside Australia, ensure they can be legally imported. If so, have all the necessary authorisations and declare them – see
  3. Don’t dump unwanted animals or give them as gifts unless you know they are wanted. This includes fish, birds and reptiles as well as dogs, cats and rabbits.
  4. Ensure that housing for caged animals is securely latched and in good condition to prevent escape.
  5. If you see an unusual animal and you think it may be a biosecurity concern, please report it immediately via 1800 900 090 or contact your state/territory biosecurity agency – see

“In 2015, thanks to the government and our network of incursion practitioners collaborating through this project, incursions of exotic frogs, toads, snakes, geckos, lizards, turtles, mammals and bird species have been successfully intercepted. One example was when we needed to quickly put together an international team of experts to respond to a boa constrictor incursion threat in Queensland earlier this year,” said Dr Christy.
Australia is also committed to international conventions which outlaw the trafficking of endangered and exotic species. The penalty for illegal possession under national environment law is up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $110,000.
For more information on our incursions research please visit –

Media contact:

Ian McDonald, Communications Manager, Invasive Animals CRC
P: 02 6201 2890 | M: 0429 985 643 | E:

The Invasive Animals CRC is supported by the Australian Government’s Business Cooperative Research Centres Programme