Develop your feral donkey management plan of action

A pest management plan should be based on a set of clear, measurable and if possible, time-limited objectives that are aimed at  reducing the level of pest animal damage to an acceptable level.  Where the level of damage is not known or poorly understood,  objectives related to a reduction in pest density can be used as an  indication of a reduction in damage. Each objective should be:

  • Specific – what exactly will be accomplished by who, where and why?
  • Measurable – how will success by demonstrated?
  • Achievable – is it within the means (financial or otherwise) of the  group or individual responsible?
  • Relevant – does it relate to the group or individual’s key responsibilities? Does it link in with other objectives and the broader plan?
  • Time-bound – when will it happen and how often? Are there  other deadlines that need to be met (eg budget or reporting)?

What are the management options?

At this point, the group should investigate all management options and decide what action to take.  Depending on the dynamics of the situation, the group might  evaluate:

  • control techniques – eg poison baiting, ripping, aerial or ground  shooting, trapping, or a combination of techniques
  • management strategies – eg one-off control or sustained management
  • equipment and access to skilled labourers
  • availability of funding now and over the life of the plan.

It is also important to consider whether management is socially and  politically desirable, and if it is actually practical, given the level of  resources.

Do a risk/benefit analysis:

Once management actions have been  decided upon, the group should weigh up the expected costs and  risks of pest management against the likely benefits and outcomes.  If the plan is going to be expensive to implement or has the potential  to harm people, other animals or the environment, then it is  important to consider if the social, environmental and economic  benefits will be worth the risk and/or the financial outlay. Sometimes a management plan is implemented because the risk of not doing  something about the problem is greater than the undesirable  outcomes of management.

Develop a detailed outline of how the plan will be put into action.

The group needs to decide who will be driving the operation,  who will carry out what tasks and when, how information will be  collected and managed, who will pay the costs of management and  any other details related to implementation of the plan.

It is also essential to define how information will be communicated among  stakeholders and participants (eg through regular meetings,  newsletters, field days) so they have real input and ownership of the  program, rather than it being conveyed in a ‘top-down’ manner.

Strategic pest management is when control is carried out according to the plan of action. Coordination of control with adjacent land  managers is the best approach, and is more likely to occur if key stakeholders have been involved in developing the plan from the  start.

It is vital to keep everyone motivated and on track during this stage of the plan to ensure that the desired outcomes are achieved.