Feral pigs targetted in aerial control
05 December 2022
An aerial control program undertaken in the State’s far north in November has removed more than 500 feral animals from properties in the Channel Country.
Six properties were involved in the control program which was a follow up to operations in December 2021 that controlled more than 700 feral animals in the area. The aerial control program was supported by skilled marksmen from the Department for Environment and Water.
A total of 493 feral pigs (sus scrafa)and 15 feral cats (felis catus) were controlled on six properties over 60 hours in the November operation. It included 232 pigs and eight cats on one property alone.
The work was undertaken because feral pigs are a threat to threatened and endangered species – both plant and animal – and also pose a biosecurity risk to both livestock and humans as disease carriers.
Routine testing following last year’s control operation detected the bacterial disease Brucellosis in pigs taken from the Diamantina/Warburton system and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) was recorded in seven feral pigs in both the Diamantina/Warburton and Cooper Creek systems. Both are nationally notifiable diseases and if spread, can impact both livestock and humans.
The aerial control is one part of an integrated approach to reducing pig numbers in the area. Landholders are required to destroy feral pigs under the Landscape SA Act 2019 and while trapping and baiting programs are undertaken by landholders, the aerial control program is designed to assist.
Reports of pig sightings received by the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board has increased considerably in the outback channel country over the past two years. Queensland floodwaters pushing into South Australia poses a risk of further spread. Regular reporting of pig numbers, sightings and impacts by land managers through the Feral Scan App and conversations with SAAL staff members supports the need for follow up control.
Landholders are encourage to report sightings of all feral animals through the feralSCAN app. The SA Arid Lands Landscape Board ran a webinar earlier this year on the use of feral scan. A recording is available at www.landscape.sa.gov.au/saal/news-resources/podcasts-and-videos You can also call the SAAL office on 8429 9666 and speak to your Community Landscape Officer or members of the biosecurity team.
The aerial control was funded through the SA Lake Eyre Basin Priority Riparian Vegetation and Great Artesian Basin Springs Project, which is an initiative of the Lake Eyre Basin program that is delivered by the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board through funding from the Australian, South Australian, Queensland and the Northern Territory governments.