Two fined for pig-dogging

REMOTE cameras have been used to catch two men illegally pig hunting in the Ballina Nature Reserve, near Lennox Head.

National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Brian McLachlan said the men were fined $500 each.

“But the penalties could have been much greater if the matter had been heard in court,” he said.

The men were detected on cameras that were being used in the area as part of a pig monitoring program.

They were interviewed by a NPWS investigator and admitted to the offence.

“Any form of hunting is illegal in national parks and nature reserves, as is taking dogs into these areas,” Mr McLachlan said.

“Apart from the disturbance to wildlife, the dogs are at risk of being lost and becoming feral, while hunters can jeopardise legitimate pig control programs by dispersing the animals.”

More than 150 pigs have been trapped in the Newrybar Swamp over the past year.

The animals are caught with traps and baits.

“Feral pigs cause considerable environmental damage and the NPWS considers their control to be a high priority,” Mr McLachlan said.

“But ‘pig-dogging’ often disrupts co-ordinated control programs by disrupting pigs during free feeding periods and dispersing them over wider areas.”

Ballina Nature Reserve covers 721 hectares and is home to several threatened species of plants and animals.

Pigs were deliberately introduced to the area for recreational hunting before the dedication of the reserve.

But the animals uproot soil, destroy habitat and compete with native wildlife.

They also carry various diseases and have been found on properties neighbouring the Ballina Nature Reserve.

The pig control program is co-ordinated by the Newrybar Swamp Feral Pig Management Committee, which consists of reserve neighbours, representatives of the Rural Lands Protection Board, Ballina Shire Council and the NPWS.

If you have any information about illegal activity in the Ballina Nature Reserve, contact the NPWS on 6627 0200.

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