South Western NSW Aerial Cull Kills 5000 Pigs
The LLS in combination with NPWS and other groups has just taken out 4750 feral pigs in an aerial shoot across 750,000 hectares in the Riverina, Murray and Western LLS regions.
The Land reported manager of Biosecurity and Emergency Services, Michael Leane said it was an opportune time to carry out the targeted program. “There’s not many silver linings to drought conditions but it’s an ideal window to achieve significant knockdowns when it comes to pest control,” Mr Leane said.
“The pigs are really poor at the moment and we’ve noticed a huge drop in condition since last year, so this was a good chance to carry out this shoot and it was pleasing to see the results that we did.”
“Programs like this rely on other strategic methods including ground trapping and baiting to ensure optimal results are
"This knockdown was required to reduce the pig population long term," Mr Leane said.
"We made a big effort to get these figures by surveying the area, so we knew how many we needed to take out of the landscape."
Mr Leane said feral pigs were a huge pest for both productive agricultural land and the environment because they spread weeds and disease.
"With it being dry they are concentrating on the waterways and fouling up the waterways," he said.
Hillston landholders had already taken matters into their own hands contracting a helicopter cull that shot 300 pigs in a couple of hours.
Dave Storrier said “I was surprised how many pigs there were on my place, I had no idea there were so many,”
“The pigs are very smart, they move from one side of the property to the other, and once you think you’ve got their routine worked out they change it. You never know when or where they are going to strike.” Despite the cull pigs were still coming in, eating cotton seed at the side of the shed at night.
Mr Storrier worked out that the cost of the aerial cull easily paid off by reducing damage to crops. The pigs wander in and out of the nearby Lachlan Ranges. He said the situation was a lot better now after the cull.
Local Land Services says its cull took out 70 per cent of the feral pig population in the western Riverina – but farmers may dispute this figure, as it would appear to only touch the surface, based on farmers’ reports. The LLS though says it backs up the aerial cull with other control measures such as ground baiting and trapping in conjunction with landholders and community groups.
Through the program, which covered an area of 750,000 hectares across the Riverina, Murray and Western Local Land Services regions, a total of 5,644 pests were eradicated including pigs, deer, feral cats and foxes. A total of 4,750 pigs were culled, it said.
The program utilised funding from the 2018 Pest and Weed Drought Funding Program.
After these culls it would be great to see relationships built with hunters to ensure these numbers are kept in check.