Case study: Taming a cactus

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During the early 1900s prickly pear, advancing more than a thousand hectares a day, blanketed more than 20 million hectares of Queensland and northern New South Wales in a horror of spines.

This case study, part of our Threats to Nature case studies in success series, explains how a devastating and seemingly intractable weed was tamed with the aid of a tiny moth from South America. This success was due to federal leadership, intergovernmental collaboration and a persistent, well-funded scientific endeavour.

This is a standout exemplar of how Australia’s national threat abatement system can work.

A fleet of seven trucks and 100 men delivered 3 billion cactoblastis larvae eggs. Photo: Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
A fleet of seven trucks and 100 men delivered 3 billion cactoblastis larvae eggs. Photo: Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area and farming communities are under threat from growing numbers of feral deer.

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