This has been a really difficult task. Being on the edge of the National Park, we have had many problems with feral pig hunters coming onto Rocklily and shooting everything in sight, and doing the same in the National Park. They also use bows and arrows, dogs and knives. Recently a couple of kangaroo and sheep wandered around with arrows in them in the local area. In efforts to get permission to use Rocklily as a starting point and entry into the water catchment I’ve even been asked if I’d like to go pig hunting (illegally in the National Park of course) – the bowie knife-wielding pigger offered to ‘let me stab ’em’! Umm, no thanks! Escaped or lost dogs is another problem with these feral pig hunters, as is the trend of releasing more piglets to grow so they can keep up the hunt.
These wild pigs not only dig up the place as if a Bobcat had been there, they eat wildlife, including wombats, echidnas, wallabies, or whatever they can catch. They are very intelligent and can work as a group. We now believe that as well as dingoes chasing wildlife into dams to kill then eat them, wild pigs are working in groups to the same effect. If the water’s too deep the pigs then leave the drowning animal. We have removed 3 drowned wallabies from the middle of
our bottom dam since Xmas. If wild dogs or dingoes had chased them in, they could swim and drag them out. Pigs have to leave them if the water’s too deep.
We have had a herd of over 30 pigs in the area, particularly in spring when the fruit trees and wild plums planted in the early 1900s become a feeding mecca for them. We have tried feeding and trapping, but they are too cunning.
Finally a solution arrived when a genuine pigger bought into a local property. Brad has radio-tracked dogs, that can sit unattached on the back of his truck in our drive and completely ignore wallabies grazing nearby! Brad has managed to reduce the problem remarkably in just 2 years, with some pigs weighing over 100 kg! The pigs are fed to his dogs, and the piglets are given to a local German family to make various German delicacies.
As the pigs are cleared from our local valleys, more are coming in from further afield and the National Park. Brad is continuing to hunt on private land and rarely goes a week without getting something. This will be an ongoing battle for many years. The Sydney Water Catchment’s restricted areas and deep gorges and valleys in the national park have made ideal breeding grounds for these destructive animals.