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Community

1 October, 2021

Feral pigs return to Mission Beach

FERAL pigs are again wreaking havoc in some parts of Mission Beach, where they have torn up residents’ yards and gardens.

By David Gardiner

The problem happened a few years ago, the local community association then calling for state government and Council help to get rid of feral pigs which had been damaging yards and gardens in the area.

But this time, residents report that the problem is worse. Cairns Local News has been sent several photos of the damage from residents of Mission Beach and Bingil Bay where the animals, digging for plant and insect food, have raided gardens in recent days. The impacts can be seen clearly in the images.

“There’s four that come into my yard almost nightly,” said Paul Roxby of nearby Bingil Bay. “They also stir up the dogs, all the dogs start barking.”

Truus Biddlecomb-Sanders, of Wongaling Beach, said the problem has become widespread in the area, with feral pigs running rampant through suburban yards as well as hobby farms and similar properties.

Truus believes Council needs to be more pro-active against the pig problem. Because in this case the pigs are creating a problem in residential areas and also where there is a lot of wildlife such as cassowaries, controlled shooting of the animals is out of the question, as is the use of pig dogs
and baiting.

But she thinks more traps and surveillance by infra-red cameras or similar, might be some of the effective pro-active steps Council could take.

“Go to Council’s website and report a feral pig sighting every time,” she said. “It’s important that the reports are made so the right people can see them.”

Truus also points out a popular app called ‘Feral Scan’, to which the sightings of all feral pests can be reported.

CCRC does say that feral pig traps are able to be loaned if the problem is bad in an area.

“Residents can loan a trap from Council and undertake their own trapping program to help reduce impacts on their property, the environment and wider community,” CCRC’s website says.

“Use of motion cameras also provides a good indication of the numbers and size of pigs frequenting an area.”

In nearby Tully, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council led a coordinated feral pig management program in 2017-2018 as part of an effort to prevent the spread of the devastating Panama TR4 banana disease which caused the complete shutting down of four farms in the area.

Panama TR4 is a soil-borne disease that can be transferred from property to property by people, animals, vehicles and other machinery entering and exiting banana farms.

More than 3,000 feral pigs were culled under the program, with 1737 killed through aerial shooting, and another 1488 killed by farmers through trapping and ground shooting.

Shane Knuth, the local state MP, has had a lot to say about the feral pig problem, especially when it comes to any sign that the state government might try to restrict the hunting of the animals.

“Feral pigs are the biggest environmental vandals in this country. They are worse than cane toads and feral cats with the amount of destruction they cause annually,” the MP said in a submission to a review of the Animal Care and Protection Act earlier this year.

Back in Mission Beach, locals are not only concerned about the reappearance of the feral pigs in suburbia – they’re also worried about the wrong image the key north Queensland tourism mecca might portray if nothing is done about the current problem; shooting for a new Netflix TV series ‘Irreverent’ starts soon.

 “It’s not a good look when we soon will have film crews in this area!” said Truus.

More information on Cassowary Coast Council’s feral pig management strategies can be found at:

www.cassowarycoast.qld.gov.au/pest-animals/pest-animals-1



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