Photo of truck bed shows explosive outback problem as Aussie town fights back

Authorities are growing increasingly worried about the threat wild pigs have on the Australian environment.

Left: truckload full of dead wild pigs, Right: Several utes with wild boars hanging from back waiting for weigh in.
A truckload of wild pigs were killed over a weekend during the Ivanhoe Pig Comp, which is a small town's attempt to control the growing numbers of the destructive pest. Source: Supplied

A photo showing a pile of boars dumped in the back of a truck offers a glimpse into a worrying problem plaguing Australia as wild pigs continue to wreak havoc on our environmental and agricultural landscape.

Like toads and rabbits, feral pigs are considered an invasive pest in Australia due to their destructive nature. The image shows one town's attempt at dealing with the growing population in parts of New South Wales.

Josh Robertson, 40, started the Ivanhoe Pig Comp almost 10 years ago, an annual competition which sees locals cull the feral animals, which are problematic for farmers and landowners, and bring them in for weighing in front of a delighted crowd.

"We had 107 teams this year, it was about 400 people. It's the most we've ever had," Robertson told Yahoo News Australia. In total, there were "well over" 2000 pigs caught over the June long weekend event, he said.

The comp has grown in popularity, he said, and Robertson now has the support of the NSW Farmers Association, which has called for the state government to provide extra funding and resources to tackle feral pigs. On competition day, four-wheel drives and utes were seen lining up with wild animals hanging from the back, waiting to be weighed. This year, the heaviest weighed in at around 120kg.

Several wild boars hanging after being killed dueing Ivanhoe Pig Comp.
The competition sees locals compete for the heaviest and biggest boar. Source: Supplied

For Robertson, the main goal of the completion is to raise money for charity with participants paying a small fee to join. This year, over $12,000 was raised. However it has the much needed added benefit of helping to solve the problem of wild pigs in the area.

"They're pretty thick numbers here, but I think a few farmers are doing baiting programmes and a lot of people are going out to catch them and get rid of them for the farmers," he said. "But we don't get any help from the government here".

Australia is estimated to have up to 24 million feral pigs spread across the continent, from western Victoria, through New South Wales into Queensland, and across northern Australia. Isolated populations can also be found on a few offshore islands.

They are known to be destructive and can be a "serious agricultural pest", according to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Feral pigs compete with native animals for food, and their omnivorous diet means they eat native plants but also birds, insects, frogs, small mammals and reptiles.

CEO of the Invasive Species Council, Andrew Cox said "they’re like mini-bulldozers" and is in full support of a cull.

"They upturn the ground for roots, insects and grubs, so they’re a serious problem for many plants and animals. Like feral horses, they’re ecosystem transformers — they’re highly destructive," he previously told Yahoo.

The feral pig (centre) and other introduced species can be highly damaging to Australia's natural environment. Source: DES
The feral pig (centre) and other introduced species can be highly damaging to Australia's natural environment. Source: DES

In October last year, a culling program run by Local Land Services was launched after a $13-million cash injection from the NSW government. The goal was to cull at least 87,000 of the pests by June this year, the ABC reported.

Speaking of the program in April, Bec Gray, who was appointed feral pig coordinator, said significant progress had been made however a lot more had to be done to help maintain population growth as they continue to breed.

Wild pigs are also among Queensland's most widespread and damaging pest animals. Previously, Yahoo shared footage showing herds of pigs rampaging through delicate waterways in national parks across Queensland’s Cape York.

The vision was released following a Department of Environment (DES) mission to cull feral animals destroying waterways and killing wildlife. More than 2000 pigs were shot dead during an operation that occurred between December 1 and 4 2022.

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