Animal and pest management

The work of Indigenous Environmental Health Practitioners (IEHPs) and rangers in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities includes animal and pest management [52]. This can be as varied as:

  • managing the health of domesticated animals (pets) [45076] [40127] [39464]
  • managing the numbers of feral dogs, cats and camels to prevent injury to people and negative effects on the environment
  • removing crocodiles living near communities to prevent injury or death [47336]
  • protecting threatened species using Indigenous knowledge [47050]
  • monitoring zoonoses (diseases that can spread between animals and humans) through sentinel chicken programs [20152]
  • encouraging the application of mosquito repellent and the use of mosquito nets within communities [20152]
  • scabies awareness campaigns and prevention programs.

Animals and pests can negatively impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing by contaminating their food and living spaces, and causing damage to stored food, clothing or shelter [20152]. Pests can carry and transmit many diseases such as salmonellosis, shigellosis and hepatitis A, which can cause skin infections, gastrointestinal (stomach) problems like diarrhoea and vomiting, and various preventable diseases [20152].

Prevention is a key focus within animal and pest control, with IEHPs often working on awareness campaigns and promoting practices to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities such as Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and dengue from mosquitoes [36781] [47337] [31237], leptospirosis from rats, and trachoma spread by flies [46646] [20152].

IEHPs also promote responsible pet ownership in communities by encouraging people to desex their pets [20152] [39464]. Educating people on how to take care of their pets is not only good for the health of their animals, but also for their owners and their communities. For example, dogs are an important part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives [46439]. Owning and living with dogs can have positive effects on health and wellbeing, so managing the health of their dogs helps to build strong, healthy communities.


Key resources



Seven sisters by Josie Boyle

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