Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Efficacy of manufactured PIGOUT® baits for localised control of feral pigs in the semi-arid Queensland rangelands

Brendan D. Cowled A D E , Eddie Gifford A B , Michelle Smith C D , Linton Staples C D and Steven J. Lapidge A D

A Pest Animal Control Cooperative Research Centre, GPO Box 284, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

B CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, GPO Box 284, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

C Animal Control Technologies Australia P/L, PO Box 379, Somerton, Vic. 3062, Australia.

D Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, University of Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: brendan.cowled@invasiveanimals.com

Wildlife Research 33(5) 427-437 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR05083
Submitted: 20 September 2005  Accepted: 1 May 2006   Published: 14 August 2006

Abstract

Conservative population declines of 73% were recorded in three independent feral pig populations in Welford National Park, Queensland, when PIGOUT® baits containing 72 mg of sodium fluoroacetate were used in a baiting program following prefeeding. Declines were measured using a prebaiting population census with remote cameras, followed by carcass recovery. The knockdown of susceptible feral pigs may have been higher than this, since any carcasses not recovered reduced the recorded efficacy. In addition, feral pigs know to have left the baiting area after trapping and telemetry-tagging, and subsequently not exposed to toxic baits, were included in the analysis. The use of remote cameras and carcass recovery appears to be a relatively accurate means of recording localised declines in feral pig populations. This method is applicable only when carcass recovery is possible, such as in open areas in the semi-arid rangelands. A decline of 86% of radio-tagged feral pigs attending bait stations was also recorded. Camera observations revealed no non-target consumption of baits. Measurement of sodium fluoroacetate–contaminated tissues from feral pigs showed that residues were too low to present a significant risk to recorded scavenging animals in the area. Some feral pigs vomited before death, with vomitus containing sodium fluoroacetate poison at high concentrations. No vomitus was consumed by non-target species. Almost all feral pigs were killed relatively rapidly after ingestion of sodium fluoroacetate and the signs observed in a small number of poisoned feral pigs did not indicate a significant welfare concern.


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