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Feral Fighters ready for action

A call to arms is going out across the Northern Tablelands to arrest invasive species in our landscape.

With the economic impact of pest animals in NSW estimated to be $170 million, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services are unveiling a program to provide landowners with the tools they need to help manage feral animals.

The Feral Fighters program is a Local Land Services initiative to strategically target pest animals at a regional scale.

Feral Fighters are local landholders who work together in groups to bait and control pest animals.   Group baiting strategically targets pest animal populations in a specific geographic location and is an effective way to reduce the rate of re-invasion.

Commencing on 1 April and running throughout the month, the feral pig population will be the first target for the program.

Mark Tarrant, Team Leader, Pest Animals for Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, is encouraging landholders to join the program to take advantage of the numerous benefits on offer.

“The aim of the program is the mass knockdown of animals.  By working together, a wider knockdown of the target species can be achieved,” said Mark.

“The dry conditions are resulting in multiple impacts from pests.  The fouling of waterways by feral pigs is noticeable, particularly as they congregate around long-term water holes.  We are looking to capitalise on the bad seasonal conditions to maximise the impact of the program,” he said.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services will provide a number of resources to facilitate landholders’ participation in the program. This includes the provision of grain for free feeding and poisoning, as well as the provision of traps at no cost.

To participate in the program, landholders are required to contact their local Biosecurity Officer.  Together they will devise the most effective strategy to deliver the program.

“Research has proven that the knockdown success rate increases the longer free feeding can occur.  Once pigs begin eating grain, we are encouraging this to continue for at least five days to maximise the results. We are optimistic that the provision of free grain will enable landholders to participate in the process, further ensuring its success,” said Mark.

In preparation for the program’s launch, four free training courses will be held in April in Armidale, Glen Innes, Inverell and Tenterfield.  Delivered by Local Land Services Biosecurity Officers, topics include baiting techniques, toxicity, storage, transport, legislation and WHS.  Those completing the course will be issued a certification card and will remain accredited to use 1080 and Pindone for five years.

“Controlling pigs together and at the same time, vastly increases knockdown rates. Working together is pivotal to the program’s success. I encourage landholders to contact their Biosecurity Officers so they can get on board this highly effective program” said Mark.

Media contact: Annabelle Monie 0429 626 326