Aerial shooting program success in culling animal pests

Hunter Local Land Services biosecurity officers have assisted drought affected Upper Hunter landholders by culling 4,647 pigs, deer, goats, foxes and wild dogs during an aerial shooting program in the Upper Hunter during June.

The three-week long program targeted pest species impacting local properties from Merriwa to Cassilis, and then from Murrurundi to the edge of the Barrington Tops, where water and feed resources are already critically low because of the ongoing drought conditions in the area.

In total 2,285 pigs, 2,297 deer, 38 goats, 20 foxes, and seven wild dogs were controlled during the program.

Biosecurity Team Leader Luke Booth said this Feral Animal Aerial Shooting Team (FAAST) program will benefit local farms and native species, struggling with the unrelenting drought. “Feral pigs pose the most significant biosecurity risk to agriculture in New South Wales,” said Mr Booth.

“Not only do they carry endemic parasites and diseases that can affect both humans and other livestock, they cause significant damage to pastures, crops and native vegetation.

“The lack of water and feed means many pest species are coming closer to farms, searching for available resources, which is adding to the pressure already being felt by local landholders.”

The shoot was organised to supplement already high level of baiting and trapping in this area. “Assisting landholders to control pest species is a crucial part of our role, especially when landholders are being impacted by the current drought,” said Mr Booth.

“We encourage any landholders not already participating in our group baiting or control programs to get in touch with your local biosecurity officer.

“More intensive control programs are planned for later this year, in areas deemed at risk of pest species population booms.”

Please report all wild dog sightings or pest animal problems to your nearest Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer: Paterson: Luke Booth 0408 681 576 Maitland: Kyra O-Brien 0427 492958 Singleton: Matt Kennedy 0428 686 178 Scone: Richard Ali 0429 722 944 Scone: Jonathan Randle 0429 342 995 Wingham: Laurie Mullen 0407 785 007 Wingham: Peter Fotheringham 0409034557