A bounty is needed to help control the plague of feral pigs sweeping the eastern states, and hunters and landowners need to join the fight, according to farmers.
The proposed bounty on pigs could be set at $40-$50, according to one farmer, a figure justified in light of the $100 million damage the animals do to Australian industry every year.
Hunters had the potential to earn hundreds of dollars a night at that rate, an incentive that could rapidly accelerate the rate at which pigs were killed.
Farming representatives from the Molonglo area, near Canberra, proposed the bounty, telling the ABC pigs were a scourge doing environmental damage and threatening Australia’s biosecurity.
They pointed to bounties on dogs and foxes in some areas and said the serious threats posed by pigs meant their proposal should be considered, and they expected a lot of support for it.
Meanwhile, the Carpentaria Land Council has wiped out 40,000 feral pigs in north Queensland since 2009 using rangers from its Land and Sea Indigenous Ranger Program and is applying for commonwealth funding to get rid of another 170,000 over the next four years.
Rangers say they eradicated the pigs using relatively small funds and they’re now trying to get the money to employ more rangers and extend their control methods.
Lack of adequate control – despite helicopter shooting, trapping, poisoning and hunting – had allowed pig populations to boom on both private and public land since the drought broke just over three years ago.
A bounty should be one of a suite of control methods, the farmers say.
Meanwhile, soaring kangaroo populations are worrying the insurance industry. The NRMA has warned motorists to be careful after its data showed collisions with roos are still on the rise, up 12% on last year.
The NSW insurer reported Dubbo, Mudgee and Singleton were the three worst areas.