CULL COMING: Feral pigs have damaged native habitat on Curtis Island.
CULL COMING: Feral pigs have damaged native habitat on Curtis Island. Contributed

Guns at ready for feral pig season on Curtis Island

A FERAL pig expert will tell the region's producers how to do battle against the menace - as the State Government gears up to start culling the animals on Curtis Island.

But the island's wild brumbies are safe from shooters, for now.

Dr Jim Mitchell, who has worked as a senior zoologist for Queensland Biosecurity, says he's battled feral pigs for more than three decades.

He's warned that the animals - and the diseases they can carry - pose a huge threat to central Queensland's primary producers.

"People underestimate the disease potential," Dr Mitchell, said.

"If they bring food and mouth disease here, the cattle industry will lose $9 million in the first year alone."

Dr Mitchell, who owns the Feral Fix company, has previously visited Curtis Island where culling has occurred over several years.

National Parks Department acting regional director Damien Head said $55,000 had been spent controlling feral pigs on Curtis since 2011.

"Rangers culled 195 feral pigs in 2011-12 and 105 in 2012-13," Mr Head said, adding that this year's culling season would start later this month.

Foxes, cats and wild dogs have also been targeted, but Mr Head said there were no plans to cull feral horses on the island.

Recently Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham asked LNG construction company Bechtel whether it was culling brumbies, following a query from a constituent.

But while horses have posed issues for the projects, she said Bechtel had denied the allegation.

Dr Mitchell will speak at a Capricorn Pest Management forum at Lake Awoonga next week.

For more information, contact Trudy on 4927 1642.



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