Pig Pests

Feral pigs are increasingly making a nuisance of themselves on farms and other properties across the NACC NRM region, resulting in a range of prevention and control measures being undertaken by land managers.

Individual farmers and community grower groups have been implementing actions on their properties, while NACC has also been working with staff from the Department of Parks and Wildlife to help protect nature reserves and their native species populations through the management of feral pigs.

Pigs have been going feral in Australia since the days of the First Fleet, and today inhabit around 40 per cent of the country. In Australia, all feral pigs have descended from domestic swine, although they look more similar to Eurasia’s wild boar than their domestic counterparts.

Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Feral pigs are opportunistic omnivores that exploit a variety of food sources. They prefer green vegetation, but readily eat a range of roots, grains and fruits. They have also been known to eat the eggs of ground-nesting birds, reptiles and amphibians, and directly prey upon lambs, frogs and marine and freshwater turtle.

As part of an ongoing program Parks and Wildlife staff deployed baiting stations throughout the Midwest in February this year, followed by a series of surveys and photo-monitoring to see if the baits were being consumed.

Parks and Wildlife Assistant Operations Officer Julia Sercombe said  the program has been highly successful so far, with satisfactorily-low numbers recorded at the larger reserves.

“There was a large amount of pig activity recorded initially, and the seasonal factors made it difficult to target specific areas, but we had good results in the end,” she said.

NACC Biodiversity Coordinator Jessica Stingemore said: “Recently published research suggests that invasive species are the primary cause of animal extinctions, and pose the main threat to many native animals.

“Through a coordinated approach to feral animal control, we can reduce the effects of cats, foxes, pigs and rabbits on our biodiversity assets, including threatened fauna, flora, birds and reptiles,” she said.

Learn more about what NACC is doing to control feral animals on the Feral Fix web page.

Did You Know?

Feral pigs cause extensive damage to natural habitats by turning over vast areas of soil when rooting for food. They also wallow and foul up water sources, trample and consume native vegetation and facilitate the spread of weeds and Phytophthora.

Ground-dwelling fauna like frogs and turtles are easy prey for digging pigs. According to Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and feral pig Threat Abatement Plan, about 40 threatened species are at risk of feral pig predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission.

This project is proudly supported by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

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