Feral pigs have been causing serious environmental damage in Ballina Nature Reserve, leading to the formation of a joint effort to eradicate them.
But the control program involves the laying of baits laced with 1080 poison, so dog owners are advised to keep their animals out of the reserve, where they are not normally permitted in any case.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) pest management officer Lisa Wellman said feral pigs cause considerable environmental damage and control is a high priority in Ballina Nature Reserve.
Ms Wellman said the recent drier conditions provided an opportunity to keep on top of feral pigs and ‘Pig Out’ 1080 feral pig baits were laid throughout the Reserve last Friday. Further baitings may occur.
‘Fixed cameras will be used to help monitor the control program’, Ms Wellman said.
‘While dogs are not permitted in the Nature Reserve, it is important for reserve neighbours to ensure that their domestic animals do not roam, as the pig baits can be fatal to dogs.
‘Feral pigs are recognised as a key threatening process to biodiversity at a national and state level because of the impact they cause from predation, habitat degradation, competition and disease transmission.
‘Feral pigs degrade habitat through selective feeding, trampling and rooting for underground parts of plants and invertebrates.
‘They are particularly damaging along drainage lines, moist gullies and around swamps and lagoons, or after rain, when the ground is softer.’
The pig-control program to protect the important wetlands area is being undertaken as a joint initiative of the Newrybar Swamp Feral Pig Management Committee, including neighbours and representatives of Forests NSW, the Livestock Health and Protection Authority (LHPA) and the NPWS.