Poisoning with sodium monofluoracetate (1080) is the most popular method used to control feral pigs. Most pigs vomit within four hours of ingestion. This may be potentially hazardous to nontarget organisms and may result in the survival of the pig. The use of anti-emetics such as metoclopramide, thiethylperazine and prochlorperazine may prevent vomiting at high doses (O'Brien et al. 1986, in Wolf and Conover 2003).
A vaccine for pseudorabies and swine brucellosis in fish meal bait may be used in late summer (when natural food supplies are low) to control these diseases (Fletcher et al. 1990, in Wolf and Conover 2003).
In the mid 1900s New Zealand conservation practitioners applied mainland hunting techniques to eradicate feral pig populations from small islands (<200 ha, Veitch and Bell, 1990, in Cruz et al. 2005). More recently poisoning techniques have been developed to control or eradicate feral pig populations (Choquenot et al., 1990; O'Brien and Lukins, 1990, in Cruz et al. 2005). Hunting and poisoning techniques used in combination, now facilitate pig eradication efforts on larger islands (Lombardo and Faulkner, 2000, Schuyler et al., 2002, Veitch and Bell, 1990, in Cruz et al. 2005).
In Hawaii, snaring has been used to control pigs within 600–800 km2 fenced enclosures located in remote areas of rain forest in the Haleakala National Park (Maui) (Anderson and Stone 1993). Many people place a high cultural value on pigs (ie: using them as a food convenient food source) so that removing them from designated areas may not be acceptable without a clear idea of the benefits. Snaring would is not always be an acceptable method of control. In addition, the fact that pigs are highly mobile means it is uneconomic for an individual landowners or controlling agency to control them (as pigs as they quickly move in from adjacent properties to replace the removed ones).
Much wisdom and insight can be gained from the case study of pig removal from Santiago Island in the Galapagos Archipelago (off the coast of Ecuador). Factors that proved critical to the successful eradication of the feral pig on the island were: (1) a sustained effort, (2) an effective poisoning campaign, (3) a hunting program, (4) access to animals by cutting more trails and, (5) an intensive monitoring program. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, hunting effort was low (<500 hunter-days/year), while in the early 1990s effort increased but fluctuated. In contrast, the revised campaign in the mid-1990s resulted in a continuous, minimum annual effort of 1500 hunter-days/year. Hunter access to pigs was critical. Extra trails were cut and goats were not hunted in order to keep vegetation suppressed (allowing hunters and dogs access to all areas of the island). Motivating hunters was a continual challenge, especially when pigs were at low densities. However, social, moral boosting events and financial incentives maintained hunter motivation. While the poisoning campaign killed relatively few pigs compared to hunting, the low cost of the poisoning made such efforts especially cost-effective. The compounds used were toxic to most species, and thus the pros of using them for eradication had to be balanced with the potential impact on non-target species (Donlan et al., 2003a, in Cruz et al. 2005). In 2000, six months after the last pig was shot, the last pig was poisoned following an intensive monitoring effort. A sustained monitoring effort was critical to successful eradication. The lack of such an effort is responsible for many eradication failures (Campbell et al., 2004, in Cruz et al. 2005).
Location Specific Management Information
Aorangi Is. (Poor Knights Islands)
Feral pigs were eradicated from Aorangi in the 1930s.
The problem associated with the illegal movement of feral species by private individuals is a growing concern to agricultural and wildlife agencies, and has been recognized for several decades (Caley 1997, Pavlov 1998 in Spencer and Hampton 2005). The detection of deliberate translocations may allow for better control (policing) of this highly destructive and invasive species (Spencer and Hampton 2005).
Semi-arid grazing systems in Australia are characterized by low and erratic rainfall, high summer temperatures and an evaporation rate that exceeds rainfall (Robertson 1987, in Dexter 2003). In these environments, the rate of change in herbivore abundance is heavily dependent upon prevailing vegetation biomass (Bayliss 1985, in Dexter 2003), which is in turn largely dependent on unpredictable rainfall fluctuations (Noy-Meir 1973, in Dexter 2003). In the case of feral pigs in the semi-arid rangelands of Australia, prevailing environmental conditions influence population dynamics through their effect on mortality rate rather than fecundity (Choquenot 1998, in Dexter 2003). Risk of spread of foot and mouth disease should be calculated by considering criteria such as proximity to ports, feral pig density and the likelihood of detection. To this could be added seasonal conditions with good conditions increasing an areas risk ranking and poor seasonal conditions lowering an area's risk ranking. Total pig eradication may not be practical on a regional or local scale ( Dexter 2003).
The wild boar is subject to a population control programme in the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.
Clarion Is. (Islas Revillagigedo)
If rabbits, sheep and pigs are eradicated from Clarion Island, the vegetation is likely to recover. However, there are currently small populations of noxious weed species such as Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) and bufflegrass (Cenchrus echinatus) which may spread if released from herbivory.
Eradication of pigs was decided in 1958 once the drastic decline of several bird species became clear. This is one of the oldest eradication operations in a French territory with an environmental objective. The eradication of pigs has had a very significant effect on restoring populations of seabirds (Lorvelec and Pascal, 2006).
The Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS), and the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), both created in 1959, focused on the conservation of the giant tortoises as one of their first priorities – the CDF carrying out research to support management activities carried out by the GNPS. In 1964, the CDF established the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) in Galapagos and within a year established an ex-situ tortoise-breeding centre. The first Santiago island tortoise eggs were brought to the breeding centre in 1970 for hatching and rearing (Cruz et al., 1999). By 1973, active pig control campaigns were established on Santiago in an effort to increase natural recruitment rates.
By the end of 1996, sporadic control efforts been on-going for 24 years. During that time, 18,903 pigs were removed from Santiago (Calvopiña, J. 1985, Calvopiña, L. 1989, Isabela Project, 2000) and a valuable study on pig distribution, reproduction and territoriality was conducted (Coblentz, B. and D.W. Baber, 1987). However, during the few years prior to 1997, especially from 1991 to 1994, funds were cut back and enthusiasm waned, resulting in dramatic reduction in hunting effort.
The passing of the Special Law for Galapagos in 1998 provided the GNPS with steady and guaranteed funding for its operations. By the second half of the 1990’s, the CDRS had begun to apply global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system technologies (GIS) to field work. With trails, radios and GPS units, hunters could now range freely throughout pig habitat, coordinate their movements with extreme precision, and increase the overall pig hunting effectiveness. Typical of an eradication campaign, as the density of the target species dropped, the effort required per individual removed increased. The rapid increase in effort required to remove individuals in the final years of the Santiago campaign resulted in a 450 grearter effort needed to remove a pig in 2000 (compared to 1988).
Sport hunting of feral pigs had no significant impact on pig numbers.
Anderson and Stone (1993) used snaring to control feral pig activity on Hawaii. It proved to be the most effective way of removing pigs in the study area. Hunters with dogs were also used to kill pigs that became trap shy.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Feral pigs were systematically removed from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The removal began in 1980 when 175 pigs were removed from the area. The main control method used was hunting with dogs. This study shows that continual control with high removal rates can effectively eradicate or reduce feral pigs to low levels within a few years, but periodic control is less successful. Hunts conducted during breeding and farrowing periods are more successful because capturing entire family groups is more probable during these times (Katahira Finnegan and Stone 1993, in Wolf and Conover 2003).
In Hawaii Volcanoes National Park the goal was to eradicate pigs from the area through exclusion hunting, fencing snaring and trapping. The pigs were successfully eradicated in three of the management areas in HAVO and populations were reduced in other areas (Hone and Stone 1989, in Wolf and Conover 2003).
Controlling stoats within the two remaining colonies is unlikely to assist in the conservation of Hutton's shearwater. Conservation efforts would be better spent protecting the two remaining colonies from pigs and in trying to establish new breeding sites.
Lord Howe Is.
Feral pigs were eradicated from Lord Howe Island by the 1980s.
Management is recommended principally because the feral pig disrupts and destroys native forests and replaces native ecosystems with the exotic strawberry guava which it effectively disperses (Diong 1982).
Conservation Management Areas were fenced off to protect native flora and fauna from invasive species, including Sus scrofa. In the area of Mare Longue, this was relatively unsuccessful as rocks were not placed at the foot of the fence, which allowed pigs to burrow into the plot.
Wild boar are excluded from Conservation Management Areas (CMAs) in Mauritius by 2 m high galvanised steel fences, permitting regeneration of native forest trees.
A three year feasibility project initiated in 2003 by pest control specialists from the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG, IUCN) has focussed on the 5000 hectare Mont Panié Botanical Reserve and has investigated the control of pest mammals in north-eastern New Caledonia. In 2004 the project control techniques focusing on feral pigs and rats were investigated. During September and October 2005 field trials were undertaken to test the efficacy of pig, rat and cat control. Trained local people and Department of Conservation specialists undertook an intensive rat trapping programme within a 100 hectare site at Thoven during September and October 2005. A number of feral cats were also trapped within the experimental trapping area. Results from the investigations and trials suggest there is potential to effectively control a range of pest mammals on Mont Panié. Whilst trapping and exclusion fencing could be used in some situations, it is proposed that hunting pigs with trained dogs would be most effective in reducing the impact of pigs on tribal gardens.
Forestry Department has begun shooting pigs in some forest areas (Martin, 2003 in Varnham, 2006). This action appears to have either reduced numbers and range of pigs or caused them to become more shy, and the control effort has now largely ceased (Hilton, 2004 in Varnham, 2006). Eradication is considered imperative and is strongly recommended to be carried out in near future while numbers are still relatively low (Hilton, 2004 in Varnham, 2006).
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Control of pigs was accomplished with bait stations containing warfarin poisoned grain.
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