A revolutionary new delivery system means baiting programmes can be targeted at feral pigs – one of Australia’s worst invasive pests, causing major damage to the economy and environment and spreading disease.
PIGOUTÂ® Feral Pig Bait is the first product for the Invasive Animal CRC (IA CRC) – the result of several years’ collaborative research and development effort by the CRC and Animal control Technologies Australia (ACTA) in partnership with many state and territory government agencies concerned about feral pig management.
Meat and Livestock Australia and the National Feral Animal Control Program of the Bureau of Rural Sciences (DAFF) provided significant support to the project.
IA CRC CEO Professor Tony Peacock explained Australia needed a new weapon against pigs, which cause an estimated AUD100m (USD91m) damage to agriculture industries annually.
“Pigs are also a major disease carrier, spreading leptospirosis, Japanese encephalitis and swine fever.”
Prof Peacock explained that PIGOUTÂ® development was fast-tracked by the Feral Pig Action Agenda and the need for an alternative to traditional meat and grain based baiting programmes after the disastrous foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK.
“With our huge population of feral pigs, a new outbreak of foot and mouth disease could prove incredibly expensive, if not impossible to contain or eradicate,” he said.
ACTA Managing Director Professor Linton Staples said “PIGOUTÂ® gives pest managers the ability to rapidly knock down pig numbers, as it can be aerially or ground deployed”.
“Extensive field-testing in a variety of ecosystems across the country has ensured that we are delivering a product that is convenient, clean to handle, relatively fast-acting and capable of substantially reducing the risk to other species”, he said.
“The trials showed most PIGOUTÂ® baits are rapidly consumed. Management strategies such as using bait stations or retrieving remaining baits in sensitive environments further reduce any likelihood of non-target impact”, Professor Staples said.
Australia now has a tool which can have a real chance of reducing millions of feral pigs and the resultant damage to ecosystems and economy. PIGOUTÂ® is also being investigated as a carrier matrix for countries interested in vaccines as a disease transmission management tool.