Opinion Piece for Sydney Morning Herald: Pest Mismanagement in Sydney's Parks

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An Opinion Piece to be Submitted to the Sydney Morning Herald Throughout the nation countless wars are being waged, with battle lines drawn in backyards and forward positions established in public parks. The enemy is at once elusive and pervasive, spreading silently through our fragile ecosystems and wreaking havoc wherever they arrive. The threat posed by the propagation of invasive species continues to grow graver with each passing year, as non-native pest plants and animals usurp the territory of Australian wildlife, deplete precious resources, and endanger the very survival of entire communities. Consider the term invasive species, which has been applied to non-native species like the cane toad, fire ant, myna bird, red fox and wild rabbit, and it becomes quite clear that, as The Nature Conservancy's Global Invasive Species Initiative stated in 2006, "these invasions pose one of the most significant, but least addressed, international threats to biodiversity, human health, livelihoods, local cultures and national economies." Today nearly every Australian resident has faced their own personal battle with invasive species. Beloved household pets have fallen ill and perished after encountering the poisonous cane toad, schoolchildren have been forced to hide in their homes rather face a horde of fire ants, and farmers have watched in desperation as their crops are trampled beneath the hooves of feral pigs. As the Australian Biosecurity Group observed, "there are

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