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Farmers go the whole hog with new technology to catch feral pigs- see video

Statewide

Park rangers in far north Queensland have unveiled a new weapon in the fight against feral pigs.

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The latest device is a suspended trap that descends on the unsuspecting animals as they feed on a bait strategically positioned in the centre of the lure.

The new $25,000 suspended trap is called a Boarbuster, and sits about a metre from the ground.

Food is placed in the centre of the trap and monitored remotely by live-streaming video.

When the pigs enter the space around the food, a button is pushed and the trap drops to the ground.

Ranger in charge Roger James said the early signs were encouraging, with a recent trial in the Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve of Atherton capturing 18 pigs at just one site.

In the world of feral pig control, that haul is considered significant, considering feral pigs are also highly suspicious of many conventional traps and notoriously difficult to capture.

Their elusive nature only contributes to the headaches they cause wildlife officers and farmers, causing thousands of dollars in damage to walking tracks, roads and mountain bike tracks in our national parks every year.

“They also eat native plants, destroy pasture and crops, and compete with native animals for water, food and shelter,” James said.

“Feral pigs are highly intelligent, extremely mobile, and breed quickly with sows able to have up to three litters annually.”

James said the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) was working on the control program in partnership with GPS Trapping and the Barron Catchment Care organisation through the National Landcare Program.

“Of the 18 feral pigs we recently trapped, 17 were humanely euthanised and one was fitted with a GPS tracking ear-tag supplied by Barron Catchment Care,” he said.

“The ear-tags are small matchbox-sized, solar powered units that can run for up to ten years.

“The GPS tags will allow QPWS and Barron Catchment Care to gather important data on the pig, including where it travels, how quickly it moves and where it finds food.”

James said the Boarbuster trap was also proving to be effective in areas where they wanted to avoid catching native animals such as cassowaries, and where distributing poisons and aerial shooting was not an option.

“The trial is ongoing, and we’re hopeful the new traps will be an effective method of controlling feral pigs in our national parks and state,” he said.

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