Bait consumption by, and 1080-based control of, feral pigs in the Mediterranean climatic region of south-western Australia

The consumption of five non-toxic, grain-based baits, and the effectiveness of the preferred baits when treated with 1080 in reducing pig numbers, were determined for feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in several areas in the Mediterranean agricultural region of Western Australia. Fermented wheat with added blood and bone proved an effective attractant for feral pigs, and for determining areas of pig activity. Wheat and malted barley were the preferred baits, there was a variable response to lupins, and commercial pig pellets were consumed least. Malted barley, barley, and wheat treated with 1080 gave good reductions in pig numbers at the localised scale. Where pigs would eat lupins, 1080-treated lupins were usually effective in reducing pig abundance. In some instances, further evidence of feral pig activity was not seen on several sites for several months after poison-baiting occurred. The addition of a small amount of unpoisoned grain to mask the presence of 1080 did not increase the take of treated bait (P < 0.05). Although finding poisoned pigs was difficult owing to the terrain and the presence of bush remnants, the poisoned pigs found (n = 90) were often within 200 m of active bait stations. 1080-poisoned pigs included both adult (?25 kg) and non-adult pigs of both sexes. Body mass of these pigs ranged from 4 to 90 kg. In all, 42% of poisoned adults found (n = 50) were 50 kg or more. There was minimal evidence of bait take by non-target species, and, where this occurred, it generally involved the consumption of the fermented wheat attractant by kangaroos (Macropus spp.) and foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Six foxes were known to have been poisoned with 1080-treated grain (4 with malted barley, 2 with wheat). Excluding foxes, no other non-target animals, including native species, were found dead during the intensive searches for poisoned pigs.

Author Laurie E. Twigg, Tim Lowe and Gary Martin
Date 24/04/2007
Year 2007
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 34
Number 2
Institution Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Department Vertebrate Pest Research Section
Pages 125-139
Notes Notes
Control method Baiting
Region WA