The Queensland government is waging an all-out offensive on feral pigs in the Far North with millions expected to be killed over four years.
The cull was announced this week by Queensland National Parks Minister Steve Dickson and federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and will see feral pigs shot, poisoned and trapped in an effort to protect an endangered turtle species.
A report in the Cairns Post said that a total of $7 million was pledged in what the ministers said would be a four-year war on pigs that feast on turtle eggs along the Queensland coast.
Turtle populations nesting on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula were identified as most at-risk and a priority by Mr Hunt.
The region is home to the endangered olive ridley turtle and the flatback turtle, which are listed as “vulnerable”.
“We’ll work with local indigenous communities to help stop the damage from feral pigs and protect our turtle populations,” Mr Hunt said.’
There are an estimated 23.5 million feral pigs in Australia, with up to 90 per cent of turtle nests lost to predation in some areas along the Queensland coast.
Mr Dickson said the program would benefit other species preyed upon by feral pigs, which cause significant damage to the ecosystem and wildlife.
“We’ll be identifying key nesting sites on the east and west coast that are priority areas for control efforts, and develop annual implementation plans and monitoring programs,” he said.
“We’ll also work with key landholders, including land trusts, natural resource management groups and other organisations to enhance existing feral pig control programs.”