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Wild dogs and pigs move in

Eliza Rogers, Thursday May 8, 2014 - 09:46 EST
ABC image
Macadamia farmer Les Gain from Amamoor near Gympie inspects the early signs of pigs eating nuts in his orchard, which he monitors on cameras strapped to trees. - ABC
ABC image
The mounted tusks of a boar that attacked Les Gain's macadamia orchard last season. - ABC
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The gut contents of a 70-kilogram feral pig after feasting on macadamia nuts near Gympie. It's believed to be about $60 farmgate value of kernel. - ABC
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Wide Bay landholders picked up free bags of poisoned meat to kill wild dogs. - ABC

As industry leaders prepare to review a national wild dog management plan, Queensland landholders are bracing for the annual onslaught on both feral dogs and pigs.

Some say the long dry and late wet have slowed the breeding cycle, but that's not stopping people from attempting to control numbers.

More than 100 landholders visited Bundaberg Regional Council depots yesterday, to collect free bags of meat, injected with 1080 poison, to bait wild dogs on their properties.

It's the first of two coordinated baiting programs for the year, targeting adults during breeding season, then pups three months later.

Childers-based council land protection officer Spencer Katt, says the turnout has been bigger than expected because of extra media coverage and weather conditions.

"I think the (long dry and late wet) might have slowed them up a bit, even the pigs, we caught some over in Childers and the females didn't have any babies inside, and they should have by now."

Wendy Lowien from Bundaberg took home 40 baits, hoping to reduce the dog problem at her place.

"Most evenings, you can hear the dogs howling and the cattle are just running to fences trying to escape."

Further south, Gympie macadamia farmer Les Gain is starting his annual battle with feral pigs.

Situated on the edge of the Amamoor State Forest, Mr Gain says about 20 pigs have wreaked havoc in his orchard every season for the past three years.

He estimates it's cost him $35,000 in lost production.

He's rigged up cameras, traps, electric fencing, and even a pile of reject macadamias to lure away the pigs, but it hasn't stopped the first boar arriving for the season.

Mr Gain wants the government to better utilise public resources.

"There's a lot of people interested in hunting, and it would be nice to think there's some scheme, that wouldn't cost the government very much, that they could harness those talents."

The Gympie and North Burnett councils are also holding wild dog baiting programs.


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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