Caption: Whitsunday Regional Council Technical Officer Pest and Vector Control Bren Fuller (right), and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger (Airlie Beach, Central Region) Steve Moss prepare for aerial pig control as part of a large-scale pest management program in the Whitsundays.
More than 72,000 hectares in the Whitsundays have been targeted for feral pig control in one of the region’s largest coordinated pest projects.
Cane farmers and graziers recently joined forces with Reef Catchments, the Whitsunday Regional Council, Whitsunday Catchment Landcare, the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing and CANEGROWERS to help address the issue of widespread damage caused by feral pigs in the Whitsunday area.
The large scale program involved ground and aerial baiting and trapping. Areas covered include the Clarke and Connors ranges, the Goorganga Wetlands, the Andromache and Lethebrook catchments and areas of the Whitsunday coastline.
Whitsunday Regional Council pest control officer, Bren Fuller, said the program was the part of a wider regional integrated program and was essential to managing feral pig numbers.
“At this dry time of the year pigs tend to accumulate in undisturbed areas where there are food and water sources remaining, so the lush Whitsunday hinterlands are a prime breeding and foraging site for them,” Mr Fuller said.
Feral pigs in the Whitsunday region typically average around 60-70 kilograms, but can reach up to 150 kilograms.
“Left unchecked, they can do a lot of damage – to the natural environment, agricultural areas, cane paddocks and grazing pastures. They also create water quality issues by disturbing river vegetation and sediment.
“Now is the perfect time to target a high density of pigs, before the wet season sets in, because they tend to cluster around water sources like swamps and dams.”
Reef Catchments land and water coordinator, Adam Folkers, said the program was an important collaboration between local organisations, businesses and landholders.
“Everyone involved has contributed funds and time to the project, with funding and support provided by both the Australian and Queensland Governments,” Mr Folkers said.
“Aerial and ground pig control is an essential part of pest management in the Whitsundays, with direct benefits for the local agricultural industry, the environment and the wider Whitsunday community in the form of reduced feral pig numbers.”
“We would like to thank all project partners for their support, in particular, local landholders. These types of partnerships allow us to coordinate a cost-effective pest management program on a large scale. We look forward to working together to continue to expand the program moving forward.”