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Feral pigs arrived in Australia with the First Fleet and today inhabit around 40% of Australia. They cause agricultural damage through preying on newborn lambs, reducing crop yields, damaging fences and water sources, and competing with stock for feed by consuming or damaging pasture.
They also are considered a major threat to stock as a potential carrier of exotic diseases, with the biggest concern being their role as a reservoir for African Swine Fever and Foot-And-Mouth Disease should it ever become established in Australia or New Zealand.
Most states and territories have clear legislative requirements to ensure that feral pigs are controlled appropriately. The responsibility to reduce feral pig densities on their property rests with the land owner/manager, whether it be park ranger, private landholder or indigenous community.
A National Feral Pig Management Coordinator was announced in late 2019, with a National Feral Pig Action Plan published in 2021.
Because feral pig populations have the reproductive ability to double in size annually, control campaigns need to be highly effective to have an impact
Research suggests that rapid knockdown of a feral pig population by 70% or more can suppress its growth potential2. In Australia, a suite of feral pig control techniques are available. Generally, no single technique will completely remove feral pigs from a given area, so a combination of techniques is usually needed.
In this video, Dr Steve Lapdige gives an introduction to feral pigs in Australia – how they got here, how they differ from domestic pigs, and their biology and ecology. Impacts of feral pigs on the environment and agriculture are also discussed.
In this video, Jason Wishart discusses the impact of feral pigs in the Macquarie Marshes region of central New South Wales. He demonstrates how to look for evidence of feral pigs in the landscape.
NSW farmers Garry Hall, Simon Earl, David Thorton and Michael O’Brian talk about the impacts of feral pigs on their properties in the Macquarie Marshes. They describe how feral pigs damage the landscape and the impacts on livestock – losses of up to 70% of lambs in some instances.
In late 2019, ABC Landline released the Meet The Ferals series, with this episode focused on feral pig management