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Wetland pests

Pest species are commonly recognised, both nationally and internationally, as a threat to wetlands. In particular, pest animals can have a range of negative impacts on wetlands, including:

  • habitat degradation (e.g. spreading weeds and reduced amount and quality of water)
  • competition with native fauna for food and shelter
  • direct predation on native fauna
  • poisoning native animals (e.g. by cane toads) and spreading disease
  • altering ecosystem function.

Cane toad, Photo by DES

Quick facts

The cane toad
(Rhinella marina) was introduced to Australia as a solution to cane beetle pest affecting North Queensland's sugar cane crops. Following its release in Queensland, the cane toad created a path of ecological disruption as it travelled across the Australian landscape. More on the history of the cane toad.

Pest animals are exotic animals that have a detrimental impact on the environment, industry or community activities. In Queensland, a pest animal may be a declared animal. Declared animals are pests under the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 and land managers are responsible for control of them on their land. Some pests are wetland species (for example, water buffalo and the red-eared slider turtle) while others, such as feral pigs, are found particularly in association with wetlands and riparian ecosystems.

Another category of pest animal found in Queensland wetlands is noxious fish, listed in schedule 5A of the Fisheries Regulation 2008. Eighteen species, genera or families of fish are declared noxious fish in Queensland. Three of these – carp, tilapia and gambusia—have established and become a significant pest. Noxious fish cannot be kept, hatched, reared or sold.

Additional information


Last updated: 15 April 2015

This page should be cited as:

Wetland pests, WetlandInfo 2013, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland, viewed 14 December 2018, <https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/components/fauna/wetland-pests.html>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science