Funds for KI to rid of feral pigs

December 15 2021 - 9:03am
Feral pigs feed on the edge of plantation forests on Kangaroo Island before the recent bushfires. Photo KI Landscape Board.

FERAL pigs on Kangaroo Island could be a thing of the past, with an additional $1.19 million being allocated by the state government to help the island eradicate the pest "once and for all".

The extra funding is part of the Local Economic Recovery program - being delivered under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

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Primary Industries Minister David Basham said the government had already made significant investment into the $5.25m campaign, which is seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to eradicate the feral species from the island in the wake of the destructive 2019-20 bushfires.

"Before the bushfires, it was estimated that up to 5000 feral pigs were established on KI, costing farmers and landholders up to $1m a year," he said.

"Following the devastating 2019-20 bushfires, there was a significant reduction in the population of feral pigs, as well as the destruction of their habitat, which has created a unique opportunity to eradicate them once and for all from KI.

"The more than $1m in additional funding will enable a significant expansion of work complementing current activities and enabling aerial culling of feral pigs across KI into 2022 and 2023."

The latest funding announcement follows a successful thermal-camera assisted aerial cull of feral pigs over the winter months - mostly over inaccessible terrain at the western end of the island.

The operation, a national first involving the thermal cameras to locate pigs otherwise hidden to the naked eye, involved 220 hours of flight time, during which 243 feral pigs were destroyed.

"This was the most intensive aerial cull in SA history and it is now estimated there are less than 200 feral pigs left on the island, which we are now targeting," Mr Basham said.

"Trapping, baiting, ground culls and the aerial cull, which have involved the combined efforts of government agencies, private organisations and the wider community, mean that a total of 777 feral pigs have been destroyed."

Environment Minister David Speirs said the community on the island, including primary producers, public and private conservations land managers and tourism business operators were supportive of this eradication program.

"We know how damaging feral pigs on Kangaroo Island are for our livestock and horticulture industries as well as the environment, which is why we are doing everything we can to eradicate this pest," he said.

"These outstanding results have only been possible due to the co-operative efforts of Livestock SA, Agriculture KI, KI Land for Wildlife, National Parks and Wildlife Service and KI Landscape Board."

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