Horticulturalist’s bold plan for feral pig eradication in Carnarvon
“MORTIFIED” and “disappointed” is how a professional horticulturalist who revealed images and footage of the devastation caused by feral animals on Carnarvon National Park to the Western Star, described the situation.
Alan Keen has been studying the ancient cycads (macrozamia moorei), that are endemic to the park, for over 40 years and is shocked by the amount of flora and fauna feral pigs have damaged.
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) conducts regular feral animal control programs, with its most recent feral pig program conducted in August 2020, which includes trapping and aerial control.
“Across Queensland, feral pigs are a serious environmental threat as they spread diseases and pathogens, trample vegetation, damage wetlands, eat roots and tubers and prey, on a wide range of wildlife,” a Department of Environment and Science spokesman said.
“Feral pigs can also pose a threat to First Nations’ cultural sites, but generally do not have an impact on those contained within the Carnarvon National Park.
“Wherever possible, QPWS works collaboratively with neighbouring landholders, other agencies, community groups and local governments, Traditional Owners, and Indigenous Rangers to control feral pigs.”
The department said there are no plans to introduce recreational hunting as a solution to the feral pig problem due to animal welfare and public safety concerns.
Member for Warrego Ann Leahy also said the Liberal National Party has not officially considered legalising recreational hunting as a pest control solution in National Parks.
“One area in particular where the LNP are committed to preserving the natural ecosystems is through addressing the threat posed by feral pests and noxious weeds,” Ms Leahy said.
“The Liberal National Party is committed to giving those Queensland Parks and Wildlife
officers the resources and directive to care out their role in managing these feral pests.”
Ms Leahy said the LNP highly values the role of the Indigenous Rangers Program in managing weeds and feral animals, as well as preserving ancient heritage sites.
She said that the program is of ‘vital importance’ and the LNP would look at expanding the project if they form government in Queensland after the upcoming state election.
Mr Keen is not happy with the attitude and solutions of both major parties, given that the feral pig problem has gotten worse over the months.
“If they’re saying that they’ve done some eradication in August, there must be a bigger problem than they imagined,” he said.
“That’s very disappointing to hear actually, especially from both sides of politics.
“That’s just nonsense.”
Mr Keen believes the best solution to the problem is to allow recreational hunting with bows and arrows to eradicate the feral pigs, and is disappointed that both parties are not considering this option.
“It’s quite obvious that if they brought in some professional shooters there, they’d hunt and kill accurately, they could eradicate the pigs,” he said.
“What sort of damage that pigs are doing at Carnarvon Gorge, and to say that they’re worried about the welfare of pigs, is extraordinary.
“I would love a university expert to go in and tell me the damage that’s been done...
“It saddens me really.
“I’m mortified at the damage done to such a unique place and I got to say… it doesn’t really surprise me the attitude because nobody’s going to make hard decisions on things like this.”