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Time to get on top of Far North Queensland’s feral pig problem

The North Queensland NRM Alliance is calling on all levels of government to invest in a regional, landscape-wide solution to far north Queensland’s feral pig problem.

In a submission to a federal Senate Inquiry on the impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia, the NQ NRM Alliance noted feral pigs are a direct threat to the national interest.

‘Feral pigs are potential vectors for African Swine Fever, which, if it reached mainland Australia would decimate our pork industry,’ NQ NRM Alliance Chair Dr Keith Noble said.

‘They also pose a huge danger to the survival of endangered plants and animals which are protected under national legislation such as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.’

Feral pigs also cause havoc on a local level with direct losses to farmers through crop damage and destruction alongside the ongoing costs of pig control. 

‘It’s been estimated that these pests cost Wet Tropics banana farmers around $4,000, and cane farmers around $10,000, each and every year,’ Dr Noble said.

‘Feral pigs may also be vectors for foot and mouth disease and soil borne pathogens such as Panama TR4, which threatens far north Queensland’s banana industry.   

Feral pigs also impact far north Queensland’s threatened species including western Cape York marine turtles and cassowaries.

‘The survival of these endangered turtle populations relies on the control of feral pigs,’ Dr Noble said.

Dr Noble said getting on top of far north Queensland’s feral pig problem would require strategic and long-term investment focused on:

  • Whole-of-population control
  • Landscape-scale responses
  • Efficient and effective control mechanisms

‘Far north Queensland’s natural resource management sector is in an excellent position to coordinate a regional, strategic, long term, landscape - scale feral pig management program in conjunction with community delivery partners such as Indigenous organisations and land and sea managers,' he said.

‘We call on all levels of government to take this problem seriously, invest in a long-term, region-wide response and make a real difference to the economy and environment of our region.’

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