Breakthrough In Feral Pig Control is About to Go Viral
After more than a decade in development, ACTA has developed an Australian innovation to tackle destructive feral pigs – HOGGONE.
This Australian innovation is effective, fast-acting and humane. It uses a unique form of sodium nitrite that is an approved food preservative in low doses which kills pigs quickly. Pigs are more susceptible to sodium nitrite because they have low levels of a protective enzyme that is present in other species.
HOGGONE completely breaks down, even after the feral pig has died. HOGGONE and its active constituent sodium nitrite, degrades totally in the environment, further boosting HOGGONE’s environmental credentials.
The company is very close to entering the United States market, having gained regulatory approval; the US having an estimated 6 million feral pigs.
Exhaustive field trials there proved it had no impact on non-target species, such as birds, or scavenging animals, like coyotes and raccoons.
That's partly because of a brilliant bait station that exploits a pig's feeding behaviour, but excludes other animals.
The actual bait has a peanut-butter-like paste, coloured black, so there's no mistaking it.
Pigs' keen sense of smell and strong foraging behaviour means they quickly learn how to push open the lid to gorge on the initially harmless feed.
The ABC reported pigs cause an estimated $100 million damage annually to agriculture and do untold environmental damage.
"The damage that they're doing is increasing and they pose a huge disease risk for the human and animal populations, quite apart from the physical damage pigs do," said Linton Staples, the founder of Animal Control Technologies Australia.
The company manufactures a wide range of poisons that target Australia's suite of feral pests: everything from foxes, rabbits and cane toads to slugs, rats, and mice.
This year's record mouse plague across the grain belt has, until recent weeks, seen the company's Melbourne factory working around the clock to try and stem the tide of rodents.
Toowoomba-based pest controller Darren Marshall believes the product is a major advance in the quest to control feral pigs.
"It works really well because it is so important to take out at least 70 per cent of a feral pig population to have any impact, and that's because they just re-breed so quickly."
He has spent years tracking and trapping feral pigs on private and public land in south-west Queensland.
Using radio collars to understand their numbers, habits and movements has played a key role in Hoggone's development.
The bait is already being used on Kangaroo Island in a feral pig eradication program.
Authorities there believe it kills pigs quickly and humanely and has not killed any other species.
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