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Days numbered for feral pigs in Waitakere Ranges


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Days numbered for feral pigs in the Waitakere Ranges

23 October 2008

Feral pigs in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park are in the sights of the ARC as it gets ready to kick off a major control operation.

“Feral pigs are a big problem in the Waitakere Ranges,” says Stephen Bell, Principal Ranger for the Western Sector.

“They cause ecological damage, rooting up the ground and eating native plants, insects and birds.

“Pig hunting is illegal in the park. By reducing pig numbers we give the forest ecosystem a big hand, and we make the Ranges much less appealing to any pig hunters who break the rules and hunt there despite the ban.”

Feral pigs are a pest under the Auckland Regional Pest Management Strategy and can be controlled at any time. The first stage of pig control operations begins on 28 October and continues until just before Christmas.

The ARC is using three professional hunting contractors for the work.
“The work will give us vital information about pig numbers and locations, as the contractors movements can be recorded by GPS,” he says.

“Their dogs have undergone bird-aversion training and will be fitted with radio tracking devices.

“All contractors will comply with ARC’s phytosanitary procedures for kauri dieback disease, and clean their footwear, equipment and even their dogs’ paws.”
Work will not be done on weekends, public or school holidays and contractors will be wearing high visibility vests. They will also liaise with private landowners where necessary.

They will carry ARC-endorsed ‘evidence of appointment’ cards at all times, and can show them to the public on request. Their vehicles will display a prominent card confirming authorisation.

“This will distinguish our contractors from any hunters who are in the Ranges illegally. Anyone flouting the ban may be served a trespass notice,” says Stephen.

Ends

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