It is believed that there are between 13 million and 23 million feral pigs spread across VIC, NSW, QLD and Northern Australia.
Feral pigs need water daily, so they are usually found close to water.
They reproduce quickly as young pigs reach sexual maturity at around seven to 12 months. They can produce one or two litters each year.
They can also spread diseases including brucellosis, psuedorabies, leptospirosis, foot-and-mouth disease and Japanese encephalitis, and the fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi.
African swine fever has been found in countries close to Australia including Timor Leste.
NT Govt wants hunters to follow biosecurity measures when out hunting and report sick or dead pigs by calling 1800 675 888.
Feral pigs are one of Australia’s most serious feral pests.
The key threats from feral pigs are predation, habitat destruction, competition and disease.
Pigs root for food – uprooting the ground for plant material – which is very destructive to the environment.
Rooting may cause any or all of the following impacts:
– disrupt the seed bank
– disturb vegetation
– change the soil composition
– spread weeds
– spread the seeds of exotic plants
– increase erosion and soil sedimentation
– destroy the habitat of native species.
There are a number of ways to control feral pigs including any of the following:
– fencing – install a fence to prevent animals burrowing or going through – Waratah Fencing has the right products for all your exclusion fencing needs
– baited trapping – this is successful for small numbers if traps are placed around waterholes
– aerial culling
– poison with 1080.
Feral pigs can cause damage to farms by destroying crops, damaging irrigation systems and infrastructure and reducing seedling recruitment.
They are responsible for large losses of sugarcane and have been known to kill and eat a large number of newborn lambs.
This article was first published in The Fence magazine.