Feral Pigs Invade Our National Park

By staff writer Mozza


On a recent drive along Bribie Island’s inland 4WD track through our State Forest and National Park I spotted many more kangaroos and wallabies than usual this month following good rains. Their numbers have increased significantly since the devastation of their population in the 2019 fires.

Kangaroos are now routinely seen on Ocean Beach, which hasn’t been the case for several years and they make a welcome return for visitors.


Welcome – a roo on Ocean Beach

Unfortunately, they are not the only species who have prospered, as I spotted a black feral pig with a litter of six midway along the track, followed by a spotted pig and her litter of three two kilometres further along. If this is how many I can see along the path imagine how many are deep in the forest.

Pigs were brought from Europe to Australia by the First Fleet in 1788. Imported as livestock, pigs soon escaped and established wild populations that have expanded over time.

Today, it is estimated that Australia has up to 24 million feral pigs. They are among Queensland's most widespread and damaging pest animals. Feral pigs spread weeds, degrade soil and water, prey on native species, damage crops and livestock, and carry diseases. They are a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014, and must not be moved, fed, given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.

The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a “general biosecurity obligation”.

At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws.


Feral pigs:

  • Spread weeds.

  • Degrade waterholes and wetlands.

  • Cause soil erosion.

  • Prey on a wide range of native species, including small mammals.

  • Significantly affect marine turtle populations by eating eggs.

  • Can carry diseases that affect native animals.

Feral pigs will eat many things including small mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, crayfish, eggs, earthworms and other invertebrates, and all parts of plants including the fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs and foliage.


Lifecycle:

  • Females and juveniles usually live in small family groups.

  • Adult males are typically solitary.

  • Produce two litters of 4-10 piglets a year in good conditions.

  • Weaned after 2-3 months.

  • Population, in good conditions, may double in 12 months.


Unwelcome – a feral pig in our National Park

This pest in our National Park poses a great threat to our wildlife and I would encourage our Rangers to look into trapping, shooting or poisoning these pigs in the park if it can be done safely.




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