Feral pigs on the rise in the central west

The increase of feral pigs in central western NSW is causing landholders grief due to loss of stock and spread of diseases.
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The increase of feral pigs in central western NSW is causing landholders grief due to loss of stock and spread of diseases.

Central west (local Land Services) LLS invasive species and plant health team leader, Lisa Thomas said feral pigs cause major environmental damage, digging hole’s up to one metre deep looking for worms and grubs.

“In our area its more environmental damage, digging and rooting up of creeks and rivers.”

“Certainly in the more marginal areas they do impact on stock. Feral pigs chase and eat freshly born lambs.

Ms Thomas said leptospirosis is a major concern in feral pigs as it is highly contagious to stock and humans.

“It’s a disease that causes abortion in cattle and it is quite contagious. If people are handling feral pigs it is highly likely they can pick it up too if they are not using gloves and come into contact with infected blood or urine.

“It acts like malaria; where people have symptoms such as a high fever and high body temperature over a prolonged period of time. In young males it could even render them infertile as a result,” she said.

Recently two pig hunting dogs in north-western NSW tested positive to brucellois, suspected to be passed on by a feral pig in the Moree area.

Dr Amanda Lee, from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has encouraged owners to be more vigilant.

“Brucellosis is a serious infectious disease of pigs that can be passed in to other animals and people through contact with urine, blood, saliva and reproductive materials,” she said.

Director of communicable diseases branch NSW health, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said “It is essential that people who are at an increased risk of brucellosis infection, including feral pig hunters, farm workers, vets and abattoir workers practice good personal hygiene and wear protective clothing when in close contact with potentially infected animals.”

For effective control of feral pigs Ms Thomas recommends baiting campaigns using controlled techniques, communication with neighbours and notifying the LLS.

“We encourage people to get into contact with their local LLS and we recommend they work in groups because of the size of the pig problem. There is no benefit working alone as pigs can cover up to 30 square kilometres in once night.”

Ms Thomas said people should only ever be on a property with the approval of the landholder.

Another major problem when hunting for feral pigs is the loss of dogs, as they are likely to attack livestock while searching for food.

“Lost dogs are not going to live on fresh air and water, so they will start attacking stock. It is a major problem in the western area of the central west,” Ms Thomas said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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