Feral pigs trapped as reports grow in the south-west
28 September 2015
Following reports to authorities, a number of feral pigs have been trapped across several locations in the far south-west of Victoria.
The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) has received a number of reports which it believes may be the result of illegal releases of the pest animals.
They are now calling on landholders to report any new feral pig sightings, to support increased surveillance.
DEDJTR Statewide Specialist for Established Invasive Animals John Matthews warned that any deliberate releases of feral animals could pose dangers to livestock and the environment.
"The release of these pigs could have a major impact on Victoria's agricultural industries, environment and market access.
"Initial surveillance undertaken by our staff, along with staff from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) has confirmed signs of pig activity at several new locations in the region.
"We are unsure of the origin of these new populations but from reports and evidence provided by the public, we suspect they have arrived through importation and illegal release," he said.
Mr Matthews said DELWP staff, plantation owners and local farmers recently worked together to trap and euthanase feral pigs at a number of sites.
"Any new population of feral pigs also presents additional biosecurity risks should Australia ever have an outbreak of an exotic disease like foot- and-mouth disease or swine fever. Feral pigs can act as amplifiers and spread exotic livestock diseases," he said.
He said the Victorian Government is committed to maintaining our much sought-after biosecurity status that will support our access to international and domestic livestock markets into the future.
"Because of the threat feral pigs pose to Victoria, they are declared as established invasive animals under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
"It is illegal to import, keep or release feral pigs within Victoria with the maximum penalty in excess of $9,000."
Mr Matthews said DEDJTR will continue investigations with the intent to bring charges and prosecute offenders.
He said authorities have increased surveillance activities to better understand the feral pig problem, the origins of new infestations and to help prevent their establishment in areas currently free of feral pigs.
"In the interim landowners and public land managers will continue to co-ordinate control programs across public and private land at these new locations."
For more information about feral pigs and established pest animal management visit the DEDJTR Agriculture website or phone the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Categorised under: Agriculture