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Working together to take out problem pests in Central Hunter

Hunter Local Land Services is working closely with large landholders and public land managers across the Central Hunter to control feral animals including wild dogs, pigs, foxes and rabbits.

Collaborating with local mining companies, public land managers and local farmers will ensure the extensive control work being undertaken is well coordinated to maximise effectiveness around the Singleton Local Government Area and parts of Muswellbrook Shire.

“The Central Hunter Land Managers Pest Species Management group started in response to growing pig problems on large holdings of land. Since we have started synchronising timing of our pest control programs we are seeing very encouraging results in terms of knockdowns in population numbers and decreases in re-colonisation of known hotspots,” said Committee member Peter Bowman from Hunter Valley Operations – Community and Environment.

“The coordination between large land owners, such as the mining industry and public land managers is key to generating some real shocks to the breeding populations of feral animals in this district, and we are already seeing some tangible results.

“We would encourage other land managers to come on board, the majority of miners in the area are now involved, and our meetings twice a year are important for identifying emerging threats and maximising the effectiveness of our control programs.”

Hunter Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer Matt Kennedy said the group has a strong program in place for a large amount of activity during spring – that will commence in coming weeks.

“From mid-September we will undertake strategic trapping and baiting of feral pigs over at least a two week period,” said Matt.

“This will be followed by our annual wild dog baiting program that will be boosted by two weeks of trapping as well.

“We will also undertake coordinated rabbit baiting across multiple sites during this period.”

A training school for members of the Central Hunter Land Managers Pest Species Management group will also be held during September, demonstrating how to use FeralScan for reporting pest problems to ensure uniformity across the district.

Hunter Local Land Services is calling on all landholders to join in and undertake feral animal controls during early spring to gain a more holistic landscape approach.

Landholders should call Hunter Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 to discuss how to join in with your nearest control program with your local Biosecurity officers.

Hunter Local Land Services can assist by performing property inspections to help identify pest activity on your property, training landholders in 1080 usage and supplying feral pig traps.

“Landholders have a biosecurity duty under the Biosecurity Act to control pest species on their property – participating in local control programs is one way to make sure you are meeting your biosecurity duties,” said Matt.

“While the ongoing drought conditions are unfortunately very tough for local farmers, they have created ideal conditions for isolating and controlling pests as they seek out food and water.

“Landholders could gain an upper hand on feral animal populations by undertaking the work now - it will greatly reduce the work required to keep populations manageable after we receive some rain.”