19 June 2024

A new Indigenous-led Marine and Coastal Hub project aims to tackle the feral pig problem in coastal northern Australia where these invasive species pose severe threats to the economy and the environment. 

The project ‘Developing integrated pest management for feral pigs' will develop an integrated pest management (IPM) framework that combines robust science, diverse control methods and community engagement to manage pest populations in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

In early June, hub project leader Dr Justin Perry from the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) led a workshop for northern Australia stakeholders.

Participants attended the workshop in Cairns and joined online. Indigenous rangers, natural resource management agencies, National Feral Pig Management Plan advisory group members, and state and federal government representatives discussed challenges in managing feral pigs.

Project leader Justin Perry in the middle with forum attendees from the Cairns Gulf and Cape York regions. Image: Damien Burrows.
Project leader Justin Perry receives feedback from online participants. Image: Damien Burrows.
NAILSMA staff member, Harry Tamwoy, reports back to the main group a summary of the breakout session. Image: Justin Perry.

Dr Perry said the workshop was successful, with participants identifying major challenges including short-term funding, lack of successful management examples, and regional capability issues.

“Feral pigs in this region are a major issue. They destroy local biodiversity, prey on endangered species such as sea turtles, and damage coastal habitats, leading to ecosystem destabilisation, erosion, and water quality issues,” he said.

“This workshop highlighted the need for strong links between management agencies, funders, and researchers to align activities and outcomes that drive results.”

The project will advance to the next phase later this year, focusing on selecting case study sites in coastal areas of northern Australia. Strategic pest management methods such as fencing, baiting, shooting, and trapping will be implemented.

Research findings will contribute to developing a practical IPM framework that is widely agreed upon and utilised by stakeholders.

Further information