Vandals thwart anti-pig program
HELEN JACK and EMMA O'NEILL VANDALS in Ballina are sabotaging efforts to control feral pig numbers near Newrybar Swamp.
Member of the Newrybar Swamp Feral Pig Management Committee, Brian McLachlan, said illegal pig hunting and%vandalised traps have disrupted the pest control program that has been operating since 2002. Eleven traps have been set up within the 5800-hectare management area in Ballina. The traps lure feral pigs with food before being shut and the animals then humanely destroyed.
Since June 30, the program has killed 22 feral pigs. However, trespassers hunting with pig dogs have recently upset the process. "We had a few pigs in a trap recently and were about to shut it, the next day the pigs were gone and we could just see dog prints," he said. Mr McLachlan said once the pigs smell the dogs they avoid the traps, threatening the program. National Parks and Wildlife pest management officer, Lisa Wellman, said it was illegal to interfere with control programs and also illegal to hunt or bring dogs of any kind into a national park or nature reserve.
Mr McLachlan said the animals have caused numerous problems for the environment. "They can damage cane crops, spread disease and damage nature reserves," he said.