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Stage 1 Report: Audit of current tools, techniques and practices for managing feral pigs both in Australia and overseas.
Brendan Cowled, Steven Lapidge and Laurie Twigg
Pest Animal Control Cooperative Research Centre, May 2004
- The aim of this Stage 1 report is to document a comprehensive audit of the current tools, techniques and practices for managing feral pigs both in Australia and overseas. The report provides a description of each of these current tools, techniques and practices and a bibliography of the reference material audited.
- The past focus on feral pig control in Australia was on reductions of pest animal populations. Feral pig management is attempting to change from this ideology, to one involving strategic, integrated and coordinated control campaigns focused on optimising the efficiency of reducing the impacts of feral pigs. The use of feral pig control tools discussed herein should be considered in this context.
- Poisoning campaigns to control feral pigs are one of the most efficient, effective and widespread control tools for managing feral pig impacts. Currently sodium fluoroacetate (1080) and yellow phosphorous (CSSP) are the only registered toxins. Limited use of warfarin occurs under special permit in restricted areas.
- Feral pig baiting substrates are currently grain, fruit, vegetables, pellets and meat in different areas of Australia. Aerial baiting is also becoming an increasingly utilised tool in the management of feral pigs in large, remote areas.
- Aside from poison baiting, trapping is one of the most widely used methods of feral pig management. Although labour intensive, the technique can be profitable and incorporated into daily land management practices. The ability of this method to control widespread feral pig populations is largely unknown.
- Hunting by non-commercial hunters and commercial harvesters using ground shooting, dogging and trapping can have a significant localised reduction on feral pig numbers. Initiatives such as the NSW Game Council may improve the application, coordination and ethics of hunting. Generally, however, the benefits of hunting and harvesting feral pigs are unquantified. A criticism of hunting as a control method is that non-commercial and commercial hunting may hold feral pig numbers at a point where the benefits of hunting exceeds the cost of hunting.
- Aerial Shooting is a useful method of feral pig control in relatively open habitats, and produces a rapid, efficient, humane knockdown in feral pig numbers. However, the technique can be expensive, generally undertaken in isolation, and the effect can be short-lived.
- Fencing can be a useful additional method of feral pig management through reducing impacts on small, valuable areas. Its use is however expensive and time consuming and is generally limited to small areas or islands to allow eradication and exclusion.
- The Judas pig technique can be applicable to aid detection of small isolated populations, and to improve the overall planning and effectiveness of control operations.
- Neck snaring can be a useful means of managing feral pigs overseas, but would not be applicable to Australia due to animal welfare concerns, non-target issues and the inefficiency of the method.
- Habitat modification includes active management of feral pig food, water and shelter sources. Removal of water sources through the capping of boar drains is currently occurring on some properties in the Australian rangelands. However, generally habitat modification would not have wide-spread value due to potential undesirable impacts associated with vegetation clearing.
- A review of the effectiveness and humanness of each feral pig control method discussed within will form the basis of subsequent reports, prior to the deliverance of recommendations for future control of feral pigs.
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