New bait targets feral pigs

A revolutionary new delivery system means baiting programs can be targeted at feral pigs - one of Australia's worst invasive pests, causing major damage to our economy and environment and spreading disease. PIGOUT® Feral Pig Bait is the first product for the Invasive Animal CRC (IA CRC) - the result of several years' collaborative research and development effort by the CRC and Animal control Technologies Australia (ACTA) in partnership with many state and territory government agencies concerned about feral pig management. Meat and Livestock Australia and the National Feral Animal Control Program of the Bureau of Rural Sciences (DAFF) provided significant support to the project.

IA CRC CEO Professor Tony Peacock explained Australia needed a new weapon against pigs, which cause an estimated $100M damage to our agriculture industries annually.

"Predation of newborn stock by pigs is so bad in some grazing areas that sheep farming has had to be abandoned", he said.

"Pigs are also a major disease carrier, spreading leptospirosis, Japanese encephalitis and swine fever."

Prof Peacock explained that PIGOUT® development was fast-tracked by the Feral Pig Action Agenda and the need for an alternative to traditional meat and grain based baiting programs after the disastrous foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK. "With our huge population of feral pigs, a new outbreak of foot and mouth disease could prove incredibly expensive, if not impossible to contain or eradicate," he said. ACTA Managing Director Professor Linton Staples said "PIGOUT® gives pest managers the ability to rapidly knock down pig numbers, as it can be aerially or ground deployed".

"Extensive field-testing in a variety of ecosystems across the country has ensured that we are delivering a product that is convenient, clean to handle, relatively fast-acting and capable of substantially reducing the risk to other species", he said. "The trials showed most PIGOUT® baits are rapidly consumed. Management strategies such as using bait stations or retrieving remaining baits in sensitive environments further reduce any likelihood of non-target impact", Professor Staples said.

Australia now has a tool which can have a real chance of reducing our millions of feral pigs and the resultant damage to our ecosystems and economy. PIGOUT® is also being investigated as a carrier matrix for countries interested in vaccines as a disease transmission management tool.

Source:
AnimalNet, March 30, 2008
http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20083103-17116.html