National Feral Pig Action Plan – May Update

Dear Members and Guests,

I thought you might be interested to read the National Feral Pig newsletter.

Kind regards,

National Feral Pig Action Plan – May Update

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7 June 2021
Welcome to our May newsletter!

What a month! We’ve engaged face-to-face with many stakeholders in Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia to progress with actioning the Plan with a focus to deliver on-ground activities. It was terrific to meet with everyone to discuss and see first-hand the significant impact feral pigs have across the country. More importantly, it is fantastic to see what is being done to manage this impact – and how we can add value.

As part of the Australian Government’s $400 million biosecurity support package in this year’s federal budget, $29.1 million in funding support will go to farmers and land managers to manage established pests and weeds. Further detail can be found in this joint release.

On 24 May, the Environment and Communications Senate Committee released the final report of its inquiry into the impact of feral deer, pigs and goats in Australia. We look forward to progressing these recommendations to better coordinate and support land managers to reduce the impact of feral pigs on our environmental, agricultural, cultural and social assets.

NFPAP Implementation Committee

The NFPAP Implementation Committee, independently chaired by Mr. Ricky Archer, CEO, North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), held its inaugural virtual meeting on Monday, 31 May to commence implementing the Action Plan.

The Committee’s immediate focus is to establish on-ground presence and build land manager awareness and support of the Plan. With this, we aim to liaise with a various community-led programs as demonstration / case study sites, with the support of regional coordinators to:

  • Strengthen land manager participation;
  • Increase the adoption of integrated, best practice management; and
  • Promote planning and monitoring to inform management decisions

We will be working alongside governments, natural resource management agencies, indigenous groups, primary producers and others to progress with this.

Working to define and adopt key performance indicators for monitoring the Plan’s implementation and management programs was discussed by the Committee. The Committee also recognised that sustained investment models that encourage long term, feral pig management activities by land managers are needed. Ways in which this may be progressed will be discussed over the coming months.

Now the Implementation Committee has met, the Scientific Advisory Panel will be convened shortly to:

  • Identify gaps and priorities in RD&E required to support the Plan’s implementation;
  • Develop the RD&E feral pig strategy; and
  • Develop appropriate performance measures to be used by land managers to measure impacts of feral pigs on targeted assets.

The Committee agreed that a national Indigenous Engagement Sub-committee should be formed to progress opportunities for the Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger networks to be involved, supported and contribute to the delivery of the Plan through their on-ground feral pig management programs. The sub-committee will be chaired by Mr. Murrandoo Yanner from the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and will be in place by late June.

The next meeting of the Implementation Committee will be held in early July.

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Coordinated action and collaboration tackles pigs in the Burdekin

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Photo 1: The information session was attended by over 20 growers and several Burdekin Shire Council staff (Photo supplied by NQ Dry Tropics)
Photo 2: (L to R) NQ Dry Tropics’ Project Officer Brad Holt with Saltwater Creek growers Greg MacElroy and Ken Linton. (Photo supplied by NQ Dry Tropics)
The Burdekin Dry Tropics Regional Pest Management Group (RPMG) has harnessed collaboration to tackle feral pig impacts in North Queensland for more than a decade. Formed in 2008 and administered by NQ Dry Tropics, the RPMG brings together partners from local and state governments, industry, infrastructure managers, landcare groups, Traditional Owners, and regional natural resource management bodies.

The RPMG has long championed the effectiveness of “cluster groups”, where local farmers join to improve the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of feral pig management. This delivery model continues to be rolled out strategically across the region, with the latest example involving a group of cane growers along Saltwater Creek near Ayr. To read more, click here.

Out and about
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Pictured LtR: Heather Channon, John Maher (Chair, NFPAP Steering Group) and Jess van de Weyer on the AgForce stand at Beef 2021 (Photo supplied by AgForce Queensland)
Beef Australia 2021 – Rockhampton

Our thanks to AgForce Queensland for allowing us to share their stand at Beef 2021, held in Rockhampton from 2-8 May. Over the five days of this triennial event, attracting over 100,000 people, we engaged with countless beef producers and industry and government representatives as they passed by our display.

We discussed the Plan, its implementation and what is needed to reduce the impact of feral pigs on each stakeholder’s operations. Our interactions with stakeholders ensured we heard first-hand of their experiences in managing feral pigs, control strategies and ongoing challenges and frustrations being faced. The beef industry fact sheet “What’s the beef with feral pigs’’, put together for Beef 2021, can be found here.

Among the technology solutions supporting beef producers, it was exciting to see Tyrone Davis from Trackers Trap as one of nine finalists in the ‘’Pitch in the Paddock” competition, sponsored by EvokeAg. Tyrone debuted his feral pig trap in the Tech Yards, with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison assisting him with putting it up!

See: Rocky business brings homes the bacon with new feral pig trap, The Chronicle, 5 May 2021

Northern Territory
We visited the Top End to meet face-to-face with many people we have only connected with virtually since this program commenced, and establish new relationships. Thanks to Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities, NT Parks and Wildlife, Charles Darwin University, NT Department of Primary Industries, Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, Northern Land Council, NAILSMA, Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association (NTCA), Territory NRM and NT Farmers for their time in meeting with us.

Special thanks go to Stu Barker and Brett Otley from Wild Science, who organised our helicopter visit to Bulgul Aboriginal Land Trust, La Belle Downs (owned by AACo) and Litchfield (part of the Tipperary Group of Stations), to better understand the habitat, control strategies and extensive impact feral pigs cause in floodplain regions and wetlands. It was an extremely valuable and informative day for us all.

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Photo 1:Pictured LtR: Brett Otley, Wild Science, Heather Channon, John Maher (Chair, NFPAP Steering Group) and Jess van de Weyer and Stu Barker, Wild Science (Photo courtesy of AgForce Queensland)
Photo 2: Damage to wetlands being caused by feral pigs
On-farm visits were also made to a mango grower and Manbulloo Station (managed by CPC) with the assistance of NT Farmers and NTCA, respectively. The visits helped us understand the impact of feral pigs, damage being caused to infrastructure and the need to collaborate at a wider landscape level as land managers diversify into other agricultural enterprises.

Feral pig impacts to mango producers

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Mango orchard and visible pig tracks (Photo courtesy of mango grower)
Feral pigs are a major pest throughout the Top End, although the extent of damage caused to the horticultural sector has not been quantified. Jess visited a local mango grower, together with Simone Cameron, Biosecurity Officer with NT Farmers.

While a wallaby-proof fence erected on one side of the orchard has significantly reduced feral pig incursions, the other side borders on densely vegetated public land that contains numerous sinkholes.

When these sinkhole water sources dry up, pigs invade the mango orchard, digging up irrigation systems and wallowing under sprinklers. This leads to damage and disconnection of water lines, causing flooding and/or lack of water to trees. Feral pigs may also be able to reach lower hanging fruit on trees.

Costs to growers are significant, with yield losses estimated to be around $100 per tree, together with costs of maintenance and repair of irrigation systems. Public health risks are also of concern as no fruit can be picked up from the ground by workers at picking time.

South Australia and the Kangaroo Island Feral Pig Eradication Program

John and Jess visited Kangaroo Island on 17-20 May to see the on-ground efforts of the Kangaroo Island Feral Pig Eradication Program first-hand, including camera surveillance sites and HOGGONE baiting stations. They also attended the Program’s Steering Committee meeting. Collaborative and determined efforts are in place between the many stakeholders involved in the program (including Agriculture KI, National Parks and Wildlife, KI Landscape Board, KI Plantations, and local landholders).

Thank you to the KI Steering Committee Chair, Andrew Heinrich, for hosting John and Jess, and particularly Matthew Korcz, PIRSA’s Kangaroo Island Feral Pig Eradication Program Coordinator, for coordinating this visit.

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Pictured LtR: John Maher (Chair, NFPAP Steering Group), Andrew Heinrich (Chair, KI Feral Pig Eradication Program Committee), Will Durack (General Manager, KI Landscape Board), Matt Korcz (KI Feral Pig Eradication Program Coordinator, PIRSA).
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This month in the media
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Thanks for reading May’s edition of our newsletter. Your continued support with spreading the word about the NFPAP throughout your networks, including to land managers that you are directly working with, is needed to help reach as many people as possible! If it has been forwarded to you, please subscribe so you automatically receive it.
If you have any suggestions for articles and information that you’d like to see included in this newsletter, please get in touch via contact.

Visit the NFPAP website here: https://feralpigs.com.au/

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