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Keep Under Control

Australia is considering genetic control approaches, among other options, to manage invasive pests and feral animals, Newsweek reports.

According to the Daily Mail, Australia is spending about AUD $25 billion (USD $18 billion) a year to control invasive species, a figure that is expected to rise about six-fold every decade. In a new report, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) says that European rabbits infest about two-thirds of Australia and that there are between 2.1 million and 6.3 million feral cats that kill hundreds of millions of native species a year.

"Urgent, decisive, coordinated action is crucial to stopping the spread of invasive species and to protect our extraordinary, irreplaceable native animals and plants," report co-author Andy Sheppard from CSIRO says in a statement.

Newsweek notes that one approach suggested in the report is the genetic control of pests by engineering them to be one sex. "'Daughterless carp' was the first, but advances in gene technology promise quicker, easier, more cost-effective ways to control pests at large scales," the report says.

Other control approaches suggested include digital sensing platforms and new track and trace tools.