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In the early 1800s, buffalo were brought to Australia from the eastern Indonesian islands. Today, there are over 30,000 domesticated buffalo in Australia's Northern Territory and an estimated 80,000 feral buffalo.
To stop the spread of tuberculosis and brucellosis, the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry has initiated a program to eradicate all feral buffalo by 1990. The department and the Buffalo Industry Council are supporting producers in building controlled herds of buffalo for the production of meat and breeding animals.
Feedlots have been established to produce young male buffalo (around 180 kilograms in weight) and efforts are underway to establish a standard carcass. Research conducted in Northern Australia has shown that buffalo have growth rates comparable to those of Brahman cross cattle, and fertility is generally good.
Australia has developed a thriving buffalo meat export industry, primarily to Europe and Asia, and the meat is also consumed domestically. The country is largely free of major diseases affecting buffalo in other parts of the world.