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Invasive Species Council
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Keep your gear clean in the wild

How to help  |  Take action

Nothing beats getting out and exploring Australia’s wild places – camping, bushwalking, boating or fishing.

And what a place we have to explore! Australia is home to some of the most remote, pristine and beautiful places on the planet.

But while we have a strong ethos of ‘treading lightly’ when out in the bush, it’s all-too-easy to unwittingly spread weeds and diseases that can kill wildlife and destroy wild places.

Leave hitch-hikers behind!

Weeds, pests and diseases are major threats to Australia’s native plants and animals.

They can hitch a ride on muddy hiking boots, in wet fishing gear or even hidden on the dirty rims of your car.

Our biggest threats

  • Chytrid is a fungal disease blamed for frog extinctions both here and overseas.
  • Phytophthora is a root rot that destroys native plants. It is spread in mud and soil on walkers’ boots, bikes and vehicles.
  • Didymo, also known as ‘rock snot’, has not yet made it to Australia but can be transported on wet fishing gear. It has devastated riverbeds in New Zealand.
  • Weeds radically alter natural ecosystems, smothering and outcompeting native plants, robbing wildlife of food and shelter.

What you can do

Here are some simple techniques you can use to keep your gear clean and our national parks and other wild places free of deadly pests and diseases:

  1. Thoroughly check footwear, waders, equipment, bikes, boats and vehicles for mud, soil, algae and plant material before arriving at or leaving each location.
  2. Clean your boots, socks, waders, equipment, bikes, boats and vehicles by scrubbing in local or town water before arriving at and leaving each location. Ensure all mud, soil and debris is removed and left on site.
  3. Disinfect the soles of your footwear using a spray bottle filled with disinfectant before entering and leaving a location. Use methylated spirits (70-100%), bleach (dilute to 25%) or F10 solution. Wait for one minute then step forward to avoid recontaminating footwear.
  4. Before use at another location, completely dry all waders, footwear, equipment, boats and vehicles.
  5. Avoid clothes or footwear that capture weed seed. ‘Sock protectors’ are widely available these days.
  6. Keep to walking tracks to avoid spreading diseases into untracked areas, especially on wet ground.
  7. Pick off seeds from shoes and clothes, and check your gear to make sure seeds are not hiding in pockets or on Velcro straps.

Download our brochure >> (updated May 2018)

Support us

The Invasive Species Council campaigns to protect Australia’s native plants and animals from the growing threats of weeds, feral animals and diseases.

With your help we can educate more Australians about these dangers and protect the wild places we all love.

Donate today >>

Keeping your gear clean supporters

This community awareness campaign has been made possible through support from NSW Local Land Services. It has been endorsed by Bushwalking NSW Inc.

Dear Project Team,

[YOUR PERSONALISED MESSAGE WILL APPEAR HERE.] 

I support the amendment to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan to allow our incredible National Parks staff to use aerial shooting as one method to rapidly reduce feral horse numbers. I want to see feral horse numbers urgently reduced in order to save the national park and our native wildlife that live there.

The current approach is not solving the problem. Feral horse numbers have rapidly increased in Kosciuszko National Park to around 18,000, a 30% jump in just the past 2 years. With the population so high, thousands of feral horses need to be removed annually to reduce numbers and stop our National Park becoming a horse paddock. Aerial shooting, undertaken humanely and safely by professionals using standard protocols, is the only way this can happen.

The government’s own management plan for feral horses states that ‘if undertaken in accordance with best practice, aerial shooting can have the lowest negative animal welfare impacts of all lethal control methods’.

This humane and effective practice is already used across Australia to manage hundreds of thousands of feral animals like horses, deer, pigs, and goats.

Trapping and rehoming of feral horses has been used in Kosciuszko National Park for well over a decade but has consistently failed to reduce the population, has delayed meaningful action and is expensive. There are too many feral horses in the Alps and not enough demand for rehoming for it to be relied upon for the reduction of the population.

Fertility control as a management tool is only effective for a small, geographically isolated, and accessible population of feral horses where the management outcome sought is to maintain the population at its current size. It is not a viable option to reduce the large and growing feral horse population in the vast and rugged terrain of Kosciuszko National Park.

Feral horses are trashing and trampling our sensitive alpine ecosystems and streams, causing the decline and extinction of native animals. The federal government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee has stated that feral horses ‘may be the crucial factor that causes final extinction’ for 12 alpine species.

I recognise the sad reality that urgent and humane measures are necessary to urgently remove the horses or they will destroy the Snowies and the native wildlife that call the mountains home. I support a healthy national park where native species like the Corroboree Frog and Mountain Pygmy Possum can thrive.

Kind regards,
[Your name]
[Your email address]
[Your postcode]


Dear Project Team,

[YOUR PERSONALISED MESSAGE WILL APPEAR HERE.] 

I support the amendment to the Kosciuszko National Park Wild Horse Heritage Management Plan to allow our incredible National Parks staff to use aerial shooting as one method to rapidly reduce feral horse numbers. I want to see feral horse numbers urgently reduced in order to save the national park and our native wildlife that live there.

The current approach is not solving the problem. Feral horse numbers have rapidly increased in Kosciuszko National Park to around 18,000, a 30% jump in just the past 2 years. With the population so high, thousands of feral horses need to be removed annually to reduce numbers and stop our National Park becoming a horse paddock. Aerial shooting, undertaken humanely and safely by professionals using standard protocols, is the only way this can happen.

The government’s own management plan for feral horses states that ‘if undertaken in accordance with best practice, aerial shooting can have the lowest negative animal welfare impacts of all lethal control methods’.

This humane and effective practice is already used across Australia to manage hundreds of thousands of feral animals like horses, deer, pigs, and goats.

Trapping and rehoming of feral horses has been used in Kosciuszko National Park for well over a decade but has consistently failed to reduce the population, has delayed meaningful action and is expensive. There are too many feral horses in the Alps and not enough demand for rehoming for it to be relied upon for the reduction of the population.

Fertility control as a management tool is only effective for a small, geographically isolated, and accessible population of feral horses where the management outcome sought is to maintain the population at its current size. It is not a viable option to reduce the large and growing feral horse population in the vast and rugged terrain of Kosciuszko National Park.

Feral horses are trashing and trampling our sensitive alpine ecosystems and streams, causing the decline and extinction of native animals. The federal government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee has stated that feral horses ‘may be the crucial factor that causes final extinction’ for 12 alpine species.

I recognise the sad reality that urgent and humane measures are necessary to urgently remove the horses or they will destroy the Snowies and the native wildlife that call the mountains home. I support a healthy national park where native species like the Corroboree Frog and Mountain Pygmy Possum can thrive.

Kind regards,
[Your name]
[Your email address]
[Your postcode]