Feral pigs plague city after big wet, posing risk to motorists
A BOOMING feral pig population in Townsville following the big wet could pose risks to the safety of motorists and the city's water supply.
Townsville City Council has confirmed feral pig numbers have risen in the area, particularly in Black River and Bluewater, following the floods in February due to an increase in food and water supply.
It comes after a cyclist continues to fight for life after colliding with a dead pig on the Port Access Rd on Tuesday morning.
Eight dead feral pigs have been removed from roads by council in the last 12 months.
A total of 321 feral pigs have been "removed" by council from Black Water, Bluewater and the Ross River Dam area in just five months.
Feral pigs, according to a Biosecurity Queensland report, costs the economy more than $50 million a year from predation and destruction of crops and pastures.
They can birth two litters of four to 10 piglets in a good year, with the capability of doubling population sizes in 12 months.
Cr Ann-Maree Greaney, who chairs council's health and environment committee, said council conducts regular "proactive feral pig control measures to minimise populations of the animals around the city".
"Populations of feral pigs vary from year to year depending on environmental conditions," she said.
"Increased numbers pose risks to the safety of motorists as well as contamination of the city's water supply.
"It is important to control the populations - particularly in drier months - as feral pigs become more transient and tend to disperse wider in smaller groups."
Council allocated $70,000 to feral animal control across the Townsville region last financial year.
Feral pig hunting in north Queensland is a popular sport, but recreational hunting is not enough to control numbers.
Burdekin recreational hunter Chris Vass said the big wet had possibly allowed the pigs to "breed up" and the pests now had to travel to find food and water in the dry season.
Mr Vass, who hunts with a dog and knife, said the biggest pig he's slain so far this year weighed a whopping 110kg, although they're usually about 80kg on average.
Burdekin MP Dale Last said the State Government needed to be doing more in the fight against feral pigs.
"They are, like cane toads, very resilient and breed very quickly," he said.
Mr Last said on his drive from Alligator Creek to Townsville on Wednesday he had spotted at least five fresh feral pig carcasses along the road.
James Cook University principal research scientist Dr Nathan Waltham said feral pigs were a significant threat to the biodiversity and landscape of north Queensland's coastal wetlands.
Council offers assistance for controlling feral animals to residents through the Property Pest Management Subsidy Scheme.
"Feral animal control is the responsibility of all land occupiers and they must take responsible measures to minimise the impacts of all invasive animals and weeds on their land," Cr Greaney said.