Wild beasts march through NSW

“As you watch this your livelihood is being robbed and we need every bit of grain we can get right now because the drought is getting worse and everyone is going back to feeding their animals.

“It’s left to the farmers and that’s it. There is not much help from the government.”

The damage wild boar do to Tom Dunlop's sorghum paddock.

The damage wild boar do to Tom Dunlop’s sorghum paddock.

Local Land Services said it increased aerial photography this fiscal year by 80 percent compared to 2021-22, completing 1,900 flight hours covering more than 6.6 million hectares.

“Reducing wild boar numbers and achieving the ideal breeding conditions of recent years will require sustained and coordinated efforts by land managers in all land holdings over the coming months and possibly years,” a spokesman said.

The spokesman said Local Land Services was “well placed” to coordinate control efforts, but Kathy Rankin, NSW Farmers policy leader, said the service needed additional resources.

“LLS has additional short-term funds to address feral pig numbers, but these end on June 30,” she said, referring to funds to prevent foot-and-mouth disease.

Wild boar in a trap.

Wild boar in a trap. Credit: Local Land Services

Laurie Chaffey, a Tamworth farmer, said she spent two hours a day controlling hog counts on her property, checking traps, setting them and laying out bait.

“We need more help…we need someone to coordinate the whole thing, the whole thing. It’s causing a whole lot of loss and there’s going to be more loss because we can’t get a grip on it.”

White Cliffs rancher Robyn Taylor said the pigs attacked ewes that got stuck in waterholes.

“They are absolutely huge. You are scary. I don’t know how my husband or my son can be out there with them.”

University of Queensland ecologist Christopher O’Bryan said wild boar had devastated the soil and threatened native species such as turtles. They also transmitted diseases that were harmful to livestock and humans.

“Wild boar are one of the biggest pest contributors in the country,” he said. “Not only do they occasionally hunt things — real animals — but they’re also like little tractors. They work in groups and can destroy large amounts of land.

“If it’s arable land, there’s a loss of revenue and yield from the crop that’s being destroyed… but there are also environmental and cultural concerns.”


Experts say the pig population is now so large that the focus must be on protecting specific assets rather than indiscriminate killing.

Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty acknowledged that wild boar numbers had increased across NSW. She said on Friday that Dr. Marion Healy has been appointed interim biosecurity commissioner to lead the formation of an independent biosecurity commission.

Justin Scaccy

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