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*** OLD *** - Feral pig damage - an overview

Feral pigs are a serious pest species in Australia. They occur in all states and territories and on some large coastal islands. They cause and estimated $106.5 million damage to Australia’s agricultural industries, environment and social values each year. Farmers, communities and governments invest time and valuable resources addressing the problems caused by feral pigs, and undertaking control to prevent damage to resources. They continue to be a problem and recent rainfall across many regions is expected to cause populations to increase. By bringing updated information together on feral pigs, farmers, communities and governments can work collaboratively to control populations and manage the problems feral pigs cause.

Agricultural pest

Feral pigs cause significant problems for Australian farmers and primary producers because they:

  • Compete with livestock for pasture and access to water.
  • Graze grasses and ground covers
  • Damage fruit (such as banana's) and vegetable crops
  • Damage grain crops, nuts and sugar cane
  • Prey on newborn lambs and scavenge around livestock.
  • Foul water sources, bore drains and irrigation infrastructure.
  • Cause soil erosion by digging and ripping up soil which can reduce the productive capacity of farmland.
  • Promote the colonisation and spread of agricultural weeds in farmland.
  • Damage fences and farm infrastructure.
  • Carry diseases of livestock and a human health risk (eg Leptospirosis).
  • Present a serious risk of exotic diseases (such as Foot-and-Mouth Disease) if introduced to Australia.
  • Threaten food security for Australians.
  • Require ongoing expenditure through control and addressing the problems they cause (eg. fence repair).

Environmental pest

Feral pigs are an environmental pest and have contributed to the loss or decline or many native animal and plant species because they:

  • Contribute to habitat degradation
  • Prey on native wildlife (eg sea turtle nests and eggs)
  • Damage sensitive wetlands, swamps, lagoons and ecosystem services
  • Compete with native wildlife for food and shelter
  • Trample and uproot native vegetation
  • Threaten World Heritage Areas (eg Kakadu National Park)
  • Damage culturally significant sites, including rock art.
  • Damage bush tucker and water resources
  • Causing soil erosion and contributing to land degradation
  • Browse and graze native vegetation
  • Spread weeds through their faeces
  • Damage creeklines, river banks, and waterways
  • Contribute to changes in plant communities.

Feral pigs eat earthworms, amphipods, centipedes, beetles, crustaceans, snails, carrion, fungi, fruit, seeds, tubers, bulbs, plant foliage, frogs, lizards, snakes, turtle eggs, crocodile eggs, bird eggs, small ground-nesting birds, and chicks that have fallen from their nests. Feral pigs are particularly problematic on small sized islands, where resources may be limited and pressure on a single food type may be high.  

National Feral Pig Threat Abatement Plan (TAP)

The damage feral pigs cause to the environment is so significant that “predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission by feral pigs” is listed as a key threatening process for biodiversity conservation, and a National Threat Abatement Plan (TAP) has been developed to help address the environmental problems caused by feral pigs. The Threat Abatement Plan aims to protect listed threatened species and ecological communities from the impacts of feral pigs, and prevent the impacts of feral pigs from causing further species and ecological communities to decline so that they become eligible to be listed as threatened. FeralPigScan aims to support the goals of the Feral Pig TAP by gathering vital information about feral pigs and sharing that information with land managers to address the problems feral pigs cause. For more information about the Feral Pig TAP visit:

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