Wet, Cold Conditions Ideal for Feral Pig Control

North Coast Local Land Services is encouraging landholders to report feral pig sightings and to act now so they can keep feral pig populations under control.

The recent wet weather has meant that feral pigs have moved from some of the lowland swamp areas, often associated with large areas of native bush, to higher more open country - increasing reports of feral pigs. In combination with the current cold conditions this provides an ideal time for landholders to manage feral pig populations.

David Brill, Senior Biosecurity Officer, said, “It is now much easier to get hungry feral pigs onto feed when baiting with Hoggone or using cage traps.

“Hoggone is a relatively new bait that uses sodium nitrite as a fast acting and humane toxin. It has two main benefits - it is highly effective against feral pigs at low doses, and it is fed from a purpose-built bait box that only allows access by feral pigs. This almost completely eliminates the risk to non-target domestic and native animals.”

Large scale control programs that include multiple properties are more effective in controlling pig numbers as feral pigs can have large home ranges. Landholders are encouraged to either work with existing feral pig control groups or to form a control group in their area.

To determine if feral pigs are present on your property, look for:

  • visible sightings
  • evidence of ‘rooting’ when feral pigs dig for underground food such as roots and bulbs
  • crop and fence damage
  • compacted trails or pads created when feral pigs repeatedly use the same trail to access food and water
  • tracks and faeces
  • ‘wallows’ or large oval depressions in mud that pigs lie in
  • mud rubs and tusk marks on vegetation and infrastructure
  • large nests made of grass, sticks and debris

Mr Brill continued, “Feral pigs create significant soil disturbance, causing erosion, damaging your soil structure, waterways and dams and their handiwork also greatly assists the spread of weeds.

“Feral pigs can also prey on livestock, ground dwelling native animals and damage your farm infrastructure. One of the most significant dangers with feral pigs is the disease and parasites they can carry which affect both livestock and humans.

“They are a major potential host to a number of exotic diseases such as foot-and-mouth and Japanese encephalitis. They pose a risk to humans with diseases such as brucellosis. For these reasons, we strongly suggest you monitor for feral pig activity and better understand feral pig issues in your area”, said Mr Brill.

Landholders who believe they may have a feral pig problem should contact the Biosecurity team at North Coast Local Land Services for advice on trapping and baiting. North Coast Local Land Services also lends traps and cameras for monitoring and can provide links to available pest animal control funding opportunities.

Vertebrate Pesticide Induction Training is available online to help farmers remain compliant with legislation when baiting on their properties. If you are concerned about feral pigs on your property, contact the North Coast Local Land Services Biosecurity Team on 1300 795 299 for information and advice.

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