DELWP takes further action on feral pigs

DEWLP takes further aim at feral pigs in south-west

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MOVE APPLAUDED: Basalt to Bay Landcare network facilitator Lisette Mill says the decision to employ a dedicated officer is welcome.

MOVE APPLAUDED: Basalt to Bay Landcare network facilitator Lisette Mill says the decision to employ a dedicated officer is welcome.

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DELWP strenghtens its south-west Victorian feral pig response.

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The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is employing an officer to tackle the feral pig problem, in south-west Victoria.

The officer will work proactively with private landholders who report feral pigs, conduct trapping and install cameras.

The announcement follows an aerial shooting program to control feral animals, including pigs, in the World Heritage listed Budj Bim Cultural Landscape.

A DELWP spokesman said it built on recent trapping, baiting and ground shooting works that saw 138 Fallow deer, 43 feral pigs and 14 foxes removed from the area since October 2020.

Basalt to Bay Landcare network facilitator Lisette Mill welcomed the decision to employ a dedicated officer.

"I am absolutely delighted, " Ms Mill said.

"As a Landcare network we will do whatever we can to support that role."

She said Landcare could help in connecting its members to the officer and as a conduit to stakeholders he or she may not know.

"It's collaboration 101 - helping people address the problem, and not just on government property.

"Feral pigs don't respect fences or boundaries, they go wherever the food and water is.'

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A DELWP spokesman said helicopters were used to target deer and feral pigs, which were causing a negative impact on fire affected parts of Budj Bim.

The program was part of a broader integrated pest control project being implemented by the DELWP, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Parks Victoria and Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation, in response to the 2019-20 bushfire.

In Budj Bim feral animals could negatively impact and damage culturally sensitive sites by rooting, wallowing, and grazing.

Feral animals also caused significant environmental damage through grazing the recruiting and regenerating manna gums, tree rubbing, and trampling.

They formed wallows in drainage lines resulting in soil erosion and impacts to riparian vegetation and water quality.

South-west farmers have experienced problems with feral pigs, including destruction of pastures and lamb losses, for many years.

Tyrendarra veal producer Phillip Saunders said it was a "big step" for DELWP

"The Budj Bim situation is the one that's tipped them over, I reckon," Mr Saunders said.

He estimated pigs could cause as much as $1000 damage a hectare to pasture land.

"You're looking at losing production for the winter and spring.

"The ground doesn't grow a lot of pasture after they've been through it, and you have at least drag and resow it.

"We tend to have smaller paddocks and when they come in they can very quickly damage between eight and 10 hectares, in a pretty short period of time."

He said because the pigs had been managed around Budj Bim, his property had not experienced the problems it had previously.

"I tend to be right at the end of the system," he said.

"They tend to come south in winter and because they are being controlled at Budj Bim, they are not coming down here.

"It's good news DEWLP is taking the mantle and doing something about it."

ABARES' latest report confirmed Australia's farmers were spending significant amounts of time and money on battling pests and weeds.

The Pest Animal and Weed Management Survey 2016-2019: Land manager survey results revealed the vital role land managers play in managing feral pests and weeds.

ABARES acting executive director Dr Jared Greenville, said the survey results demonstrated that land management in Australia was an ongoing job.

"We surveyed 6,470 farmers in 2016, and 8,059 in 2019 and they responded from across Australia," Dr Greenville said.

"The biggest change we saw was a 41 per cent increase between 2016 and 2019 in farmers reporting crop loss, degradation or loss of value from pests, particularly insects.

"The impact of pest animals, particularly invertebrates, has increased between surveys, even considering the vastly different weather patterns between 2016 and 2019."

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