17/12/2021

Feral pigs on Kangaroo Island could be a thing of the past with an additional $1.19 million being committed to the Marshall Liberal Government’s plans to fully rid the island of the pest.

The extra funding is part of the Local Economic Recovery program - being delivered under the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the State Government had already made significant investment into the $5.25 million campaign, which is seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to eradicate the feral species from the island in the wake of the destructive 2019/20 bushfires.

“Before the bushfires, it was estimated that up to 5000 feral pigs were established on Kangaroo Island, costing farmers and landholders up to $1 million a year,” Minister Basham said.

“Following the devastating 2019/20 bushfires there was a significant reduction in the population of feral pigs, as well as the destruction of their habitat, which has created a unique opportunity to eradicate them once and for all from Kangaroo Island.

“The more than one million dollars in additional funding will enable a significant expansion of work complementing current activities and enabling aerial culling of feral pigs across Kangaroo Island into 2022 and 2023.”

The latest funding announcement follows a successful thermal-camera assisted aerial cull of feral pigs over the winter months – mostly over inaccessible terrain at the western end of the island.

The operation, a national first involving the thermal cameras to locate pigs otherwise hidden to the naked eye, involved 220 hours of flight time, during which 243 feral pigs were destroyed.

“This was the most intensive aerial cull in South Australian history and it is now estimated there are less than 200 feral pigs left on the island, which we are now targeting,” Minister Basham said.

“Trapping, baiting, ground culls and the aerial cull, which have involved the combined efforts of Government agencies, private organisations and the wider community, mean that a total of 777 feral pigs have been destroyed.”

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the community on the island, including primary producers, public and private conservations land managers and tourism business operators are supportive of this eradication program.

“We know how damaging feral pigs on Kangaroo Island are for our livestock and horticulture industries as well as the environment, which is why we are doing everything we can to eradicate this pest,” Minister Speirs said.

“These outstanding results have only been possible due to the co-operative efforts of Livestock SA, Agriculture KI, KI Land for Wildlife, National Parks and Wildlife Service and KI Landscape Board.”

The $5.25 million Kangaroo Island Feral Pig Eradication Program, which is funded by State and Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Arrangements and other programs, is a three-year partnership between the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board and National Parks and Wildlife Service, in an effort to eradicate feral pigs from the Island by 2023.

Funding details

Eradication Program:

  • Australian and SA State Government funded Disaster Rebuilding and Resilience Program: $2.67 Million.
  • SA State Government: $37,000.

Thermal Assisted Aerial Culling (Winter 2021):

  • Agriculture Kangaroo Island, grant from the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Program, funded by Landcare Australia and the Australian Government: $300,000.
  • Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife, grant from the Revitalising Private Conservation in South Australia Project, in collaboration with the SA Department of Environment and Water (DEW) and Heritage Agreement landholders: $132,000.
  • Livestock SA, grant from the Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife and Habitat Community Grants Program, funded by the Australian Government: $149,200.

Thermal Assisted Aerial Culling (2022-2023):

  • Australian and SA State Government funded Disaster Rebuilding and Resilience funding: $750,000.
  • Local Economic Recovery Program: $1.19 Million.