Special environment protected from feral pigs
Wednesday 11 September, 2019
The special natural values of St Helens Flora Reserve near Warrnambool have been protected from destructive feral pigs following government and community action.
The small reserve, which provides habitat and sanctuary for native animals, including the threatened southern-brown bandicoot, was recently occupied by a small group of feral pigs.
Feral pigs are environmental and agricultural pests that can seriously impact land, watercourses and swamps by trampling, rooting underground, wallowing and destroying vegetation. As well as killing birds, animals and insects, feral pigs also prey on newborn lambs, compete with livestock for pasture, and can damage farm infrastructure.
After the pigs were detected by cameras that are monitored by Basalt to Bay Landcare Network, an inspection revealed they had quickly damaged around 300 square metres of the reserve and neighbouring farmland.
In response, Parks Victoria Rangers developed an eradication plan in coordination with the Landcare group, neighbouring farmers and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
As well as responding to reports of pest animals, Parks Victoria regularly undertakes large-scale conservation programs designed to contribute to habitat restoration and predator management across the state’s parks and reserves.
This includes through the state government’s Biodiversity Response Planning grant scheme, which last year provided Parks Victoria with an additional $11.2 million for 22 projects across the state.
Quotes attributable to Ben Hammond, Ranger Team Leader– Parks Victoria:
“This was an exceptional example of the effectiveness of community and government working together, protecting Victoria’s special places and providing benefits that go beyond park boundaries.”
“We thank Basalt to Bay Landcare Network for its ongoing commitment to St Helens Flora reserve, and its continuing coordination of groups and individuals, including schools and farmers, to lend a hand in protecting and preserving this important parcel of public land.”
Quotes attributable to Lisette Mill, Landcare Network Facilitator–Basalt to Bay Landcare Network:
“The recent feral pig incursion into one of our ongoing Crown Land threatened species project sites has proven that active partnerships result in shared benefits, resources and expertise.”