Feral pigs in north-western Australia: population recovery after 1080 baiting and further control

The recovery rate of a population of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in the west Kimberley in north-western Australia was determined 12 months after a 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate)-baiting program. An estimated 56 pigs were present in the 15 000-ha study area in August 2005 compared with the prebaiting levels of 250?275 pigs in 2004 (11 pigs were known to be alive on site after the 2004 baiting). This represents a population recovery of 20?23% of the 2004 prebaiting levels. Although most pigs were in good body condition, environmental conditions were quite different between the two years. In 2005, some waterholes were dry or comprised mainly muddy water with little associated shelter for feral pigs. Consequently, and in contrast to 2004, no pigs were seen, and no bait take could be attributed to feral pigs, at the four resurveyed waterholes. Most pig sightings, and activity, were close to the Fitzroy River. Fermented wheat, with blood and bone, was used to determine areas of pig activity, and also used as prefeed before 1080-baiting commenced in 2005. Using the same bait stations as for 2004, plus additional stations established in new areas of pig activity, 1080-treated wheat and malted barley again proved highly effective in reducing pig numbers. The daily sighting index before and after 1080-baiting indicated that pig numbers had been reduced by ~90% within four days. Estimated pre- and postpoisoning density, with and without an edge effect, was 0.12?1.7 pigs km?2 and 0.05?0.67 pigs km?2. Pig tracks decreased to zero on the six track plots within two days of baiting, but the number of macropod tracks remained constant over the four-day baiting period. Thirty-eight poisoned pigs were found after 1080-baiting, and these were generally in clustered groups within 200 m of an active bait station. Poisoned juvenile pigs were again found closer to the active bait stations than were adult or subadult pigs (P < 0.05).

Author Laurie E. Twigg, Tim Lowe, Michael Everett and Gary Martin
Date 14/08/2006
Year 2006
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 33
Number 5
Institution Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Pages 417-425
Notes Notes
Control method 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate)
Region WA
Links https://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/144/paper/WR05098.htm