Sightings of feral pigs in South Australia are on the rise. Previously only found on Kangaroo Island and in small populations in the far northeast of the state and along the Murray River, they are now moving further south. Over the past two years, feral pigs have been sighted and in some instances shot at Quorn, Carrieton and Caltowie.
While there is some speculation that the feral pigs may have been deliberately released for sport hunting, farmers and experts agree that it is likely that they are now successfully colonising new areas as the number of sightings are on the increase. All agree that this problem should be taken seriously.
Feral pig numbers will increase rapidly if there is shelter and a good food and water supply at hand. Groups will also follow waterways into new territory. Drought and environmental disaster interstate may also force feral pigs to move into new areas. This in turn will see the widespread destruction of native vegetation, pasture and crops. Feral pigs are extremely destructive to soil and fencing alike. They have been known to eat lambs, goat kids and dead animals. In the far north of Australia they also eat turtle and bird eggs and the hatchlings.
Feral pigs are able to breed rapidly, with research putting the figures at up to 12 piglets per sow (females are able to reproduce at around 6 months of age). The potential for disaster is a very real one. Feral pigs carry many diseases and the biosecurity threat to the commercial pork industry as well as to other commercially farmed animals cannot be underestimated.
Feral pigs moving into new areas of South Australia, Nov. 4, 2015, ABC News Rural, abc.net.au
Feral pigs on the rise in South Australia’s Mid North, farmers say, Simon Royal, May 17, 2015, abc.net.au
Wild pigs cause havoc for farmers in South Australia’s mid north, Courtney Fowler, Aug. 9, 2017, ABC News Rural, abc.net.au