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Source: Auckland Council

A feral pig control programme on Waiheke has successfully reached a point where eradication is possible thanks to support from Ngāti Pāoa and other landowners and the Natural Environment Targeted Rate.

The programme is part of Auckland Council’s work under the Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030, aiming to prevent adverse effects from feral pigs on the island’s environment and economy, and to protect human health and taonga.

Auckland Council Senior Conservation Advisor Deryn Dromgoole says the feral pig control programme has been undertaken strategically across Waiheke over the last four years and that council has worked closely with landowners to achieve results.

“We’re now at a point now where feral pigs remain at very limited numbers in a localised area on the island and we believe that eradication can be achieved sooner than we had originally anticipated.”

Feral pigs can have significant negative impacts on native ecosystems, primary production, infrastructure and are potential vectors of kauri dieback disease and bovine tuberculosis. 

Co-Chair of the Ngāti Pāoa Trust Board Danella Roebeck says the trustees were supportive of the feral pig control work at their Waiheke Station.

“In addition to the negative impacts feral pigs can have on indigenous species, they also affect production systems by damaging pasture and grain crops, and, more rarely, killing and eating lambs,” explains Danella Roebeck.

“The programme’s success is good news for Waiheke,” says Waiheke Local Board Chair Cath Handley.

“Waiheke is kauri dieback-free and we need to be proactive to keep it that way. Pigs damage kauri roots which can cause infections to start, and pigs roaming can spread the disease.

“We also need to make sure our waterways are protected from erosion and sedimentation that can result from pig rooting.”

Waitematā and Gulf Councillor Pippa Coom says pest management is a vital tool to safeguard the island’s biodiversity, including wetlands which are regionally threatened.

“Council’s pest management plan is critical to the survival of the region’s native species and to protect livelihoods. With funding support from the Natural Environment Targeted Rate, the success of the feral pig programme on Waiheke shows that the plan gets results.”

Next steps

A comprehensive surveillance and detection programme is planned across the island to ensure complete eradication.

“We’re asking people to get in touch if they see any feral pigs or fresh signs of their presence,” says Deryn Dromgoole.

Landowners who own pigs should also get in touch so that a register can be developed.

“Pig owners must follow containment guidelines and ensure that their animals are adequately secured. Release of pigs or other pests is an offence under the Biosecurity Act. If you see it, report it.”

To report or request information about this programme, contact Deryn Dromgoole, 09 890 4969, deryn.dromgoole@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Find out more about the Regional Pest Management Plan 2020-2030 and about pest control work on Waiheke at our website.

MIL OSI