Controlling feral pigs a community effort

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The Australian Government’s Wild Otways Initiative commenced in 2020 as a three-year $6M commitment to achieving on ground outcomes that improve the protection and management of threatened species in the Otways.

As part of this Initiative, the Conservation Ecology Centre is critically assessing populations of pigs and deer across the Otways and identifying regions where management can be most effective for preserving EPBC-listed threatened species and protecting vital assets such as water catchments and cultural heritage.

To deliver this work, we’ve deployed GPS collars and motion detection camera traps to better understand pig movements and more accurately track of feral pigs, enabling more effective and targeted control – and the successful removal of feral pigs on private and public land in key locations across the landscape.

We’re also actively working with private landholders and public land managers to conduct control works and provide guidance on best practice management of feral pigs in the Otways. Training is also being provided to private landowners in the use of Feral Scan to report sightings of feral species in the Otways, in partnership with local Landcare Networks.

For example, on 23 March, the CEC and Upper Barwon Landcare held a field demonstration at Gerangamete to provide the community with an update on the CEC’s work. It was also an opportunity to teach landholders about the latest techniques in controlling feral pigs on their properties. This included the demonstration of the Hog Eye Remote Camera Trap system and the use of HOGGONE® Feral Pig Bait.

“It’s exciting to see how this information is already improving management techniques and taking effect on the ground,” said CEC Project Coordinator Tim Wilson. “Receiving notifications about pig activity from community and other stakeholders via Feral Scan, paired with the detailed insights we are collecting from the cameras and collars puts us in a much better position to successfully manage these pests.”

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