About Feral Pigs:
Brought over by settlers to Australia as livestock, they were left to free-range and became uncontrolled and essentially feral. Implementations against wandering pigs started as early as 1795 as they quickly became a nuisance. As farming spread throughout the continent, so did the feral pig, becoming a serious problem to agricultural industries. Attempts to control the population have varied since, but have so far been ultimately unsuccessful.
Feral pigs cause significant damage to various agricultural sectors, and to the biodiversity in natural ecosystems. They also pose a major risk to biosecurity, acting as a host to dieases that can be transmitted to people and livestock. These kinds of diseases include leptospirosis, internal and external parasites, brucellosis, tuberculosis, and several arboviruses, which have potential to cause significant disruption to sustainable agriculture. Feral pigs can also cause extensive damage to infastructure, water and soil quality, animal productivity, and are a threat to our native flora and fauna.
There are approximately 3.5 million to 23.5 million feral pigs in Australia across 38% of the mainland, with the potential to spread further. They prefer dense cover to avoid direct sunlight and high temperatures, as they have a relatively low tolerance to heat. They have few sweat glands, so they need to drink more fequently and wallow in mud or water to cool off. They live in a defined home range, and return to the same trails, shelter areas, feeding and watering areas, and wallows. This home range size can vary from 0.16 km2 for furrowing sows, to greater than 40km2 for individual boars. They are most active during cooler weather such as dawn, dusk, night or during rainy or overcast weather.
In good conditions, populations of feral pigs can increase by 500% in a 12-15 month period, as breeding can occur all year round. An average litter size can range between 4.9 and 6.3 piglets, but can be as high as 10. Sows can produce 2 litters per year in good conditions, with only 2-3 months between the birth of a litter and the next fertile mating period. Feral pigs usually live less than five years in the wild.