Cooperation at the heart of national plan to tackle feral pigs

Cooperation at the heart of national plan to tackle feral pigs

COOPERATION is at the heart of the nation's plan to tackle feral pigs, which was recently endorsed by the government.

The National Feral Pig Action Plan will aim to coordinate the efforts of individuals and groups, guiding them towards the same goals.

Feral pigs cost the Australian agricultural sector around $106.5 million per year, with landholders spending $47.7m a year managing them.

National feral pig management coordinator Heather Channon said wild hogs were intelligent, very adaptable and had a high reproduction rate - all of which made them a challenging foe.

"They're very mobile in their home range, so often when you think you've gotten rid of them, they've just moved - that's why we need people working together," Dr Channon said.

"A lot of this is about building networks of community-lead groups, and sharing on-ground learnings with each other.

"Much of the work is being done in isolation, so people aren't aware of what's working and what's not."

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said demonstration sites would be set up under the national action plan, to showcase how feral pig management methods could be best applied.

"It aims to increase the capacity of land managers to manage feral pigs on the ground by applying best practice management tools and methods," Mr Littleproud said.

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The plan will run for a decade, until 2031. Centre for Invasive Species Solutions Andreas Glanznig said the long-term approach

"It really enables a lot of these different players to mesh together into a national focus," Mr Glanznig said.

"The feral pig plan is modelled off the successful wild dog action plan, and we've found that a long-term strategic approach is what creates the momentum to develop sustainable change."

Innovation is another key focus within the plan. Mr Glanznig pointed to a recently-developed sodium nitrate bait, HogGone, as an example of how new tools could have a massive impact if applied at scale.

Invasive Species Council chief executive Andrew Cox said the big question was whether there would be additional funding to support the extra coordination and innovation that the national plan highlighted as priorities.

"There is a big decision coming up in the next [federal] budget about the continued investment in pest and weed control," Mr Cox said.

"The big breakthrough for pigs will come through technology. We've had good progress on infrared drones for surveying, which allows you to spot them quickly, then mop them up quickly."

This story Cooperation at the heart of national plan to tackle feral pigs first appeared on Farm Online.