Feral pig ecology in Cape Tribulation National Park, North Queensland, Australia

P. M. Pavlov, E. C. Edwards


Results of an initial feral pig trapping and sampling program in the Cape Tribulation National Park and results from a survey of pig activity are presented. Pigs from the central and northern areas of the Park have a different origin from feral pigs from other regions of Australia. This is based on coat colour, the presence of a Melanesian tick, and a stomach nematode not previously recorded in Australia. Feral pigs pose a risk to human health. From this sample of 61 pigs, 11 different serovars of Leptospirosis were isolated. 66% of the sample was positive for Meliodosis, while Brucellosis occurred in 1% of the sample. The pig helminths Stomach Worm, Lungworm and Kidney Worm were found at high infection rates. A peculiarity of the area was the close association of human habitation with feral pigs around subdivisions adjacent to the Park. Pigs from these areas were on average 2x heavier, weight for age, than their purely forest dwelling associates. Pig activity in the central and southern areas of the Park was recorded as an adjunct to a survey of cassowaries in the area. With data on elevation and habitat, it was possible to investigate the association of pig activity with these variables in selected catchments over the 7 months of the survey. Information presented includes: measured impacts on the environment, management implications of these initial research data and guidelines for future work on trapping, investigation of seasonal habitat usage and applied ecology of feral pigs in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of North Queensland.

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Journal of Mountain Ecology
The Journal of Mountain Ecology is an OPEN ACCESS peer reviewed journal published by the Gran Paradiso National Park.