Environment SA News

Move to reduce feral pig numbers

Feral pigs on Kangaroo Island will be targeted in a new operation to reduce their numbers and prevent them from hindering the island’s environmental recovery.

Image courtesy of PestSmart

The population of feral pigs on the island was one of South Australia’s biggest, with numbers estimated at 5000 and largely based on the western end, which was heavily damaged by the recent bushfires.

There is now an opportunity to locate the remaining population of feral pigs and further reduce their numbers to lower their impact on native vegetation and farmland.

It is hoped that the remaining population will gather around water and vegetation sources, making them easier to be identified and taken from the landscape.

Aerial reconnaissance is being undertaken this week to survey the remaining feral pig population in parks on the western end of the island, ahead of aerial marksmen and ground staff working to reduce their numbers.

The operation is supported by the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board through the Australian Government, which has committed $50 million for emergency wildlife and habitat recovery, including controlling feral predators and protecting habitat.

Following activity in its parks, the Department for Environment and Water will work closely with landowners, including timber plantation owners, to gain access to their properties and undertake appropriate activities to help them eliminate these pests.

The board’s Presiding Member Andrew Heinrich said landowners and national parks would benefit from the government’s swift action.

“The bushfires have dealt a heavy blow to farmers and parks on the island, but with the bushfire now contained we can begin to hope and talk about recovery”, Mr Heinrich said.

“Feral pigs will not only churn up the ground and affect soil retention, they can also damage recovering bush, carry pests and diseases and foul water sources, making them a particular menace to the recovery. The KI NRM Board is very welcoming of this action.”

If you would like to help the recovery of Kangaroo Island you can donate to a fund established by DEW in partnership with Nature Foundation SA here: https://www.naturefoundation.org.au/support-us/wildlife-recovery-fund

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