After more than a decade in development, an Australian developed feral pig bait has received regulatory approval.
The product, marketed as ‘HOGGONE’, is described as a fast-acting, humane, targeted feral pig bait.
Feral pigs are spread over 45 percent of the Australian mainland and cause significant destruction to agriculture and the natural environment.
HOGGONE was developed by Animal Control Technologies Australia (ACTA) through the former Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre with collaboration from USA and NZ scientists and support from Meat & Livestock Australia and AusIndustry.
Vertebrate pest specialist and ACTA Managing Director Dr Linton Staples said the rollout is well timed.
“Feral pig populations rise rapidly in good seasons,” Dr Staples said.
“With estimates of up to 24 million of the destructive pests in Australia, the current La Niña weather event means feral pigs are likely to increase in number and range in the coming months.”
Dr Staples said HOGGONE, which has a formulation based on the active ingredient of sodium nitrite, provided the capacity to cull large herds quickly and humanely, which had the potential revolutionise management.
“Sodium nitrite is a food preservative which is safely used in low concentrations. People and most animals can tolerate modest amounts of sodium nitrite, but pigs lack the protective enzyme that is present in other species,” Dr Staples said.
“HOGGONE renders pigs unconscious before they die, typically within one to three hours, without suffering.”
“Importantly, it breaks down very quickly in the environment, leaving no toxic residues.”
HOGGONE is a Schedule 6 poison so landholders can buy and use it without specific training or certification.
It is deployed via a specially designed HOGGONE bait box that non-target animals cannot access.
Toowoomba-based pest researcher and consultant Darren Marshall has run trials to test HOGGONE in south west Queensland on multiple properties and in a national park.
“If you use as the label suggests, it works very well. It is very humane and achieves really good knockdown with a lot of the dead pigs found close to the baiting station,” said Mr Marshall, the General Manager – Commercial Programs at natural resource management organisation, Southern Queensland Landscapes.
“We need to control feral pigs to protect agriculture and the environment.
“We need to kill 75% of the feral pig population in an area to control them, and you can only do that through baiting or aerial shooting.
That’s why HOGGONE is a really important tool in controlling feral pigs.”
Source: Animal Control Technologies Australia