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26 February 2021
Welcome to our February newsletter. 

We are nearing the end of the consultation period for our stakeholders to provide feedback on the draft National Feral Pig Action Plan. We would like to remind you all that submissions close today (Friday 26 February 2021), 5 pm AEDT. To review the draft Plan and its four-page summary, please visit our website

Thanks to all who have taken time to provide feedback to date and thank you to the communications and media professionals across many organisations for their support in sharing the draft Plan with their extensive networks. We look forward to reviewing your comments and revising the draft Plan, as required, to ensure that all key needs and priorities are addressed. 

Once the draft Plan has been revised, the Steering Group will review and upon their agreement, will provide the Plan to government for endorsement.

As we near the conclusion of the consultation process, our attention turns to implementing the Plan and what can we action now with emphasis on gaining support and resources. As part of these next steps, we are seeking expressions of interest to join the NFPAP’s Implementation Committee. 
NFPAP Implementation Committee -
Expressions of Interest NOW OPEN! 
Would you like to contribute to driving the implementation of the first national strategy aimed at reducing feral pig populations and their impacts across Australia?

The NFPAP Implementation Committee will oversee the implementation of the National Feral Pig Action Plan 2021-2031. A total of 10 members, including an independent Chair, are being sought from our extensive and diverse stakeholder base. Individuals working in environmental and conservation management, agriculture, Indigenous organisations, and research and development (R&D) are being sought to join the committee.

Expressions of interest are open from today until 5 pm AEDT Friday 19 March 2021. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be conducted by a representative selection panel.

The first meeting of the Committee will be held in mid-late April. The terms of reference and selection criteria for the Committee can be accessed here or on our website under the Community tab.

Submit your expression of interest (a one page letter and brief resume) via email to: contact@feralpigs.com.au.

Central West LLS Feral Fighters workshop 
A room full of land managers at the Feral Fighters workshop.
It was terrific to meet land holders from the Coonabarabran region of NSW when the draft Plan was presented by Heather Channon at the Feral Fighters workshop facilitated by Central West LLS. The workshop, which featured a mixture of presentations and interactive displays of surveillance technologies, traps and simple baiting stations, engaged more than 40 participants (pictured). With increasing feral pig numbers in the region due to good seasonal conditions and feed availability, strong interest by attendees in the topics being discussed was evident.

A recent survey conducted by Central West LLS, involving 85 participants, identified that one pig can cause approximately $65 worth of damage. It’s easy to see that without applying integrated feral pig control strategies (ideally to reduce 75 per cent of the population at a time), costs to land holders from feral pig impacts will quickly become significant. While there are no magic solutions, the benefits of working together as a group to control feral pigs, and the importance of free feeding to optimise baiting and trapping activities, were continually emphasised throughout the day. 

A video summary of the key messages and presentations at the workshop is being compiled, and once available, a link will be provided via this newsletter.
      
Economic impacts from feral pigs on crops and livestock
SPOTTED FROM THE SKY: AgEcon's feral pig report found aerial shooting and baiting to be the most cost-effective control methods across the majority of farming enterprises (credit: AgEcon)
A recent webinar organised by North West LLS and presented by AgEcon, detailed outcomes of work conducted to quantify the agricultural costs to cropping and livestock enterprises from feral pigs and the value of various control methods used across 422,000ha in north west NSW. A total of 123 landholders participated in the study. Expected yields, anticipated pig damage and the effectiveness and cost of control methods used were determined. The highest pig damage occurred in chickpeas, faba beans and sorghum ahead of wheat, barley and cotton. Estimated lamb mortalities of 5 per cent or higher due to feral pigs were reported by 41 per cent of respondents.

In conclusion, working together in control programs can assist producers with reducing their control costs and increasing net benefits. A series of fact sheets have been prepared and are available, with the full report, here. The recording for this webinar is available through the NFPAP website in our Resources section.
Using technology and AI to effectively protect marine turtle populations in Western Cape York 
Left: Rangers document each heartbreaking nest loss (credit - Brian Ross)
Right: Turtles are shielded by protective netting (credit - APN Cape York archive)
Feral pigs significantly threaten endangered marine turtle species in northern Australia as a result of turtle nest predation. Programs funded through the National Environmental Science Program’s Northern Australia Hub, CSIRO, APN Cape York and Microsoft utilised Indigenous knowledge, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and video obtained from drone and helicopters. Dr Justin Perry, Research Scientist from CSIRO Land and Water, and a member of the NFPAP’s Steering Group and Metrics sub-group, was integrally involved in this innovative and ground-breaking work.

The monitoring data was used to understand where and when turtles lay eggs and when predators are most active on remote beaches on Western Cape York. The ability to remotely monitor beaches using image detection models to automatically analyse huge numbers of images is enabling Indigenous rangers to put adaptive management programs in place to protect as many nests as possible. The automation of monitoring is supported through easy to use computer programs that provide information in real time to inform management decisions and improve how the threats are being managed.

For further details and photos, see here. A video has also been produced summarising key outcomes and links to media stories are included in the ‘’In the news’’ section below.
Coordinators get together 
Left to Right: Greg Mifsud, National Wild Dog Management Coordinator; Heather Channon, National Feral Pig Management Coordinator; Annelise Wiebkin, National Wild Deer Management Coordinator
This week, Greg Mifsud, (National Wild Dog Management Coordinator), Dr. Annelise Wiebken (National Deer Management Coordinator) and Heather met face-to-face for the first time to attend the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions’ (CISS) Showcase event at Parliament House, Canberra, hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of Primary Producers. We also attended CISS’ Board meeting to discuss national coordination of vertebrate pest management so that we are united in supporting land managers. We are working together to address common issues, including measures and reporting systems that are needed to provide land managers with useful information and enhance their vertebrate pest management programs. 
Prizes to be won in CISS’ photo competition

If you have photos or video footage that highlights the impacts being caused by feral pigs, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions invites you to submit them into their photo competition. Entry is free and there are prizes on offer. To enter the competition, go to feralphotos.invasives.com.au. You are also welcome to vote on entries that have been submitted on the website.
In the news
Some of the key media stories released during February are:


The National Feral Pig Action Plan will feature during on Thursday 25 March 2021 at 2 pm AEDT. The presentation will focus on feral pig impacts on conservation and food production in Australia and will be hosted on Landcare Australia’s Landcarer platform. To register for this event, click here. 


“Feral Futures 2051” is the theme of the virtual Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference (AVPC), being held on 25-27 May 2021. The draft program has been released and includes a feral pig concurrent session on 27 May. For more information and to register click here.
 
Building our networks
Plans are progressing on getting out and about to meet with land managers wherever and whenever we can (despite COVID-19 continuing to create uncertainties with our travel plans, particularly interstate travel).
 
If you know of any feral pig management events that are being organised over the next couple of months, please reach out so we can include details in this newsletter.

We’d love to learn more about your feral pig control programs and include them into our new Information Hub. An update to the Hub will be made shortly – check it out here

If you have any suggestions for articles and information that you’d like to see included in this newsletter, please get in touch via contact@feralpigs.com.au. For further information or to get in touch, please use the contact details below:

Visit our website here: https://feralpigs.com.au/
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