Aerial Culling of Feral Pigs on the Gilbert River

16 Dec 2014

Northern Gulf Resource Management Group has supported the Gilbert River Landcare Group for another 2 rounds of aerial pig shooting along the Gilbert River. The funding was awarded to NGRMG to support the Gilbert River Landcare Group who manage high value agriculture land along the Gilbert River. To meet our funding obligations with Both Federal and State Governments, we followed a competitive selection process to choose the most suitable and cost effective contractor. Furthermore, landholders involved in the aerial cull along the Gilbert had an opportunity to contribute to the selection process with which contractor they preferred.

Both rounds were planned to start from Green Hills and Flat Creek to work downstream to Strathmore to ensure that the members of the Gilbert River Landcare Group were prioritised. However, adjoining properties with known feral pig densities were targeted as time permitted. These included Strathmore, and Kutchera.

Feral Pigs prior to shooting

The timing of the shooting was scheduled to coincide to the end of the wet season, when the pigs were “mobbing up” on the remaining water holes along the Gilbert. The first 36 hours of aerial shooting claimed 1,362 pigs and 40 dogs on; Green Hills, Flat Creek, Prestwood, Rockdale, Riverview, Forest Home, Inorunie, Lake Carlo, Rocky View, Feral View, Langlo Vale, Chadshunt, Kutchera, and Strathmore. The final round of shooting also included Blanncourt with extra time spent on Strathmore Station. The final round of shooting from Flats Creek to Strathmore claimed 1,664pigs and 17 dogs, leaving a total of 3,009 pigs and 57 dogs for this years cull.

It became apparent that properties that had conducted effective baiting programs for pigs had dramatically less numbers than properties that did not. This was particularly the case with 1 property that had adopted a free feeding of grain strategy prior to baiting, where pigs were very scarce. I am aware that a number of property owners are using this opportunity to bait to try destroy the remnants after the shoot which would prolong the time that numbers of pigs could rebuild to damaging numbers again. It would also be worthwhile prior to future culling programs, to integrate baiting prior to the aerial shooting to facilitate more efficient use of the higher cost aerial culling platform.

It is important to note that this aerial culling program adopted the State Government Guidelines for the humane destruction of “Model Code of Practice” Destruction or Capture, Handling and Marketing of Feral Livestock Animals – “SCARM”. Both the shooter and pilot hold the relevant CASA accreditation to facilitate aerial culling of feral pigs.

Local Contractor from Georgetown ATHThis successful aerial culling project is part of the Drought Assistance Pest Management Control Program funded by the Federal Government, and administered by Queensland Biosecurity and Southern Gulf Catchments. Ultimately, this project was implemented under the Regional Landcare Facilitator Program, with the facilitation of the design, coordination, and “on-ground” logistics support, monitoring and evaluation.

 

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Grazing Land Management