Wednesday, April 24, 2024

New feral pig coordinator takes aim at 87,000 animals

The NSW Government’s inaugural feral pig coordinator is ready to roll out a $13 million control program to support farmers, the Government announced today.

Coordinator, Bec Gray, brings 12 years of experience to the role, having worked directly with landholders to manage feral pigs and other pest animals for more than a decade.

Over the next eight months, she will drive the program to cull at least 87,000 feral pigs across NSW.

“I am excited to get started and work with a fantastic team as part of this new role,” said Ms Gray.

“We are here to provide support to farmers and to help coordinate large-scale feral pig control programs. Land managers need to play their role and participate in these programs. 

NSW feral pig coordinator, Bec Gray (Photo: LinkedIn).

“I have seen firsthand the damage feral pigs cause to agricultural production and the environment, and I am pleased to see a dedicated feral pig program to assist landowners to manage this issue. 

The cull will focus on three priority hotspots known as ‘landscape control zones’. They are based on known feral pig populations, impacts on agricultural and environmental assets, plus known landholder control efforts, the Government said in a statement.

The model has proven to be a leading approach to pest animal management, with biosecurity officers and landholders working side by side, across private and public land, it said.

Highlights of the NSW Government’s program include: 

  • NSW’s first dedicated feral pig coordinator appointed to lead the program;
  • Establishing 3 priority landscape control zones to knock down numbers and reduce impacts in feral pig hotspots across Riverina, northwest, and western NSW;
  • Boosting regional control programs, including 46 of the highly effective aerial shooting campaigns, and further support existing landholder driven programs;
  • Equipping farmers with 99 capacity building events to inform them on the latest tools and advice needed to actively manage pest animals;
  • Fully subsidising the cost of treating grain to bait feral pigs for farmers participating in the Feral Fighters program.

The Government said NSW Local Land Services will adapt programs based on feral pig behaviours and movements.

With predicted dry conditions and warm weather over summer, control programs will focus around water resources as feral pigs will concentrate in these areas as other water sources deplete. 

“One of the focuses of this program is capacity-building, to ensure landholders can continue to manage feral pigs on their property into the future to protect their farming operations,” said Ms Gray.

“The more landholders taking part in control programs, the more successful they will be at reducing feral pig numbers and protecting farming operations.

“I encourage farmers and land managers to get in contact with their nearest Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer and work closely with their neighbours in coordinated programs as this gets the best results.”

Minister for Agriculture, Tara Moriarty said she looked forward to seeing Ms Gray lead the way in managing the feral pigs program.

“This new $13 million program is modelled on extremely successful pig control programs and is targeting areas across the state with high density feral pig populations to get the greatest impact on pig numbers,” said the Minister.

“A strong focus of the program is supporting landholders through practical training to help control feral pigs on their properties and subsided feral pig bait.

“Tackling a rising feral pig population requires government and farmers to work side by side, and this program will do exactly that.” 

“We have listened to farmers’ concerns since we were elected to government, and we have now delivered a practical plan that will tackle the feral pig population in NSW, getting results in the paddocks and for communities.

Contact your nearest Local Land Services office on 1300 795 299 or visit lls.nsw.gov.au for more information on how to get involved in the Feral Pig Control Program 2023-24. 

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