KANGAROO Island Natural Resources Management Board presiding member Andrew Heinrich has welcomed a state government announcement that feral pigs will be targeted on the island, in an attempt to reduce numbers and prevent them from hindering the island's environmental recovery.
The population of feral pigs on KI was one of SA's biggest, with numbers estimated at 5000 largely based on the western end, which was heavily damaged by the recent bushfires.
Environment Minister David Speirs said there was an opportunity to locate the remaining population of feral pigs and further reduce their numbers.
"The hope is that what remains of the population will congregate around water and vegetation sources, making them easier to be identified and taken from the landscape before they have a chance to hinder recovery," he said.
"Feral pigs on KI have long been a pest that damages native vegetation and farmland.
"With the recent bushfires taking most of their usual habitat away we can take action before they gather in large numbers around what is left of the vegetation and water sources.
"Aerial reconnaissance will be undertaken this week to survey the remaining feral pig population in our parks on the western end of the island ahead of aerial marksmen and ground staff working to reduce their numbers further."
The operation is supported by the KI NRM Board through the federal government, which has committed $50 million for emergency wildlife and habitat recovery, including controlling feral predators and protecting habitat.
Following activity in its parks, the Department for Environment and Water will work closely with landowners, including timber plantation owners, to gain access to their properties and undertake appropriate activities to help them eliminate these pests.
Mr Heinrich said landowners and national parks would benefit from the government's swift action.
"The bushfires have dealt a heavy blow to farmers and parks on the island, but with the bushfire now contained we can begin to hope and talk about recovery", he said.
"Feral pigs will not only churn up the ground and affect soil retention, they can also damage recovering bush, carry pests and diseases and foul water sources, making them a particular menace to the recovery."
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