I commend North Queensland NRM Alliance chair Dr Keith Noble for highlighting the imperatives of strategic, cross-jurisdictional approaches to feral pig management (FNQ feral pig investment call, QCL/NQR, 18/06/2020).
Modelling indicates there could be up to 24 million feral pigs in Australia, covering 45 per cent of the national landmass and costing Australian agriculture more than $100 million a year.
Solutions need to reflect the challenges shared across different regions, landscapes and industries, such as those across Cape York Peninsula and the northern Gulf where large endemic feral pig populations continue to destroy agricultural and environment resources.
The impact of essential on-the-ground monitoring, trapping, baiting and shooting initiatives undertaken by local stakeholders will be enhanced if they are part of collaborative regional, state and national management frameworks.
With the largest concentration of feral pigs, and close proximity to Papua New Guinea where African swine fever has been confirmed, northern Queensland will play a frontline leadership role in the national coordination and consolidation of feral pig management strategies.
The range of stakeholders in a region such as Cape York Peninsula also typifies the far-reaching impact of feral pigs across many sectors, which includes horticulture, broadacre and rangeland agriculture; environmental land managers and indigenous communities.
The National Feral Pig Action Plan, a federal government initiative that involves developing a coordinated, national framework for best practice feral pig management and control, is already drawing heavily on the lessons learned across Queensland.
The National Feral Pig Action Plan will utilise the proven model for the National Wild Dog Action Plan which has helped to deliver successful outcomes for land managers in Queensland as well as across Australia. The draft action plan will be provided to the federal Department of Agriculture by January 2021.
I welcome the leading roles that experienced natural resource management leaders, including Dr Noble, will continue to play in providing vital input into shaping the National Feral Pig Action Plan.
- National Feral Pig Management coordinator, Dr Heather Channon