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Cape York's feral pig epidemic

‘What might we save if we get the response right?’

Cape York NRM Chair Emma Jackson asked this question in relation to the ongoing problem of feral pigs on Cape York.

‘It is estimated that there are around more than 20 million feral pigs in Australia, with the highest numbers found on Cape York Peninsula,’ she said.

‘Cape York is the epicenter of Australia’s feral pig problem. If we don’t get on top of this problem in the Cape, we won’t get on top of it across the nation.

‘Cape York’s feral pig problem is out of sight and out of mind for many but turtle eggs and hatchlings are still being eaten, irrigation systems and pasture are still being destroyed, native vegetation and wetlands are still under threat, endangered plants and animals cannot compete for food and habitat, and the country’s pork industry remains at risk of African Swine Fever for which feral pigs are a vector. And feral pigs breed like... feral pigs.

‘Over the years we have learned a few things.

‘We know that the current model, ad hoc, short – term programs, based on localised need, have not solved the problem.

‘Let’s learn from our mistakes, approach this differently and establish a coordinated, strategic, regional, long – term approach which utilises community delivery partners to reduce the harm feral pigs cause to country and community.

Consider what might be saved if we get this right: money, time, biodiversity, crops, pasture, waterways, farming infrastructure, endangered plants and animals, native vegetation... the list goes on.’

Image  - Copyright State of Queensland 2020