Culling feral animals that fart could restrain carbon emissions: Oz experts

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MELBOURNE - An environmental group have suggested that culling the feral animals that burp and fart their way around Australia’s outback could eliminate billions of tonnes of carbon emissions.

According to a study commissioned by the Nature Conservancy and the Pew Environment Group, 9.7 billion tonnes of carbon is stored in the nation’s central forests, grass and woodlands.

However, through better land management, such as culling wild animals, reducing wildfires, limiting tree clearing and allowing vegetation to regrow, another 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon could be stored by 2050 - the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road every year for the next 40.

Pew spokesman Barry Traill said a program of culling feral camels was already underway, but needed to be extended.

“When feral animals belch they release methane, a particularly noxious greenhouse gas, and every single camel or water buffalo releases the equivalent of around one tonne of carbon dioxide each year,” quoted him as telling reporters in Canberra.

“When you’ve got hundreds of thousands, in some cases millions, of these feral animals, it’s a very large amount of pollution each year.”

Dr Traill said the practical and inexpensive measures should be part of all political parties climate change policies.

“This is not theory, these are not some new ideas which need … more science, this is work that is being done right now,” he said.

“If we expand it across much greater areas of the country we will get those inexpensive savings.”

Australian Greens senator Christine Milne welcomed the study, which pointed to potential emissions reductions of 5 per cent by 2030.

“We need substantial investment in techniques to measure terrestrial carbon and in helping the stewards of our land - indigenous people, farmers, land care groups - to make the changes needed to tap the huge potential that is there,” she said. (ANI)

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