Project Squealer™ UPDATE: Use of GPS/Radio tracking collars and “Judas” pigs
HCPSL Press Release
An initiative of the Hinchinbrook Community Feral Pig Management Program.
“The Queensland Feral Pest Initiative (QFPI) provides funding from the Queensland Government and Australian Government.” QFPI Round 6- has funded this project.
Use of GPS/Radio tracking collars and “Judas” pigs
The Hinchinbrook Community Feral Pig Management Program (of which HCPSL is a partner) was successful in obtaining funding to investigate “Novel technologies to better manage feral pigs.”
As part of the project, the research team has commenced activities using GPS/Radio tracking collars fitted to “Judas” pigs. It is envisaged that the use of GPS tracking in conjunction with drone and thermal imagery cameras will allow the program to gain a better understanding of feral pig population numbers and habitat utilisation.
The project team has been working with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to seek approval to fit tracking collars to 3 female feral pigs. A permit to Use Animals for a Scientific Purpose has been sort and approved via a Grant of Application for Registration as a Scientific User- HCPSL (Reg No. SUR001683). DAF have appointed Dr. Bronson Logan (DAF veterinarian) to assist the project team with fitting the GPS/ radio tracking collars.
The project team have purchased the following items with the research funding in preparation for the fitting of the GPS radio tacking collars:
- Three SIR GPS/radio tracking collars have been purchased from Lotek Advancing Wildlife Science from Canada.
- Equipment to administer anesthetics to the feral pigs in order to fit the collars.
- Radio tracking equipment.
- Two remote area cameras and solar accessories to be used for monitoring purposes.
A few weeks ago, 3 young sows were captured within the Hinchinbrook Shire, fitted with SIR GPS/radio tracking collars, and released back into the wild at 3 different locations. These feral pigs will be now tracked over the next few months to gain useful information on their movements, the habitats they utilise and hopefully congregate with other pigs with which they will roam, to provide intelligence on how to manage the larger populations of feral pigs across the district. It is intended that the information collected will provide strategic insights to program partners on how to better manage feral pigs across the shire longer term.
We are asking the farming and general community to assist the research project by not deliberately killing these collared pigs if it can be avoided. If you have accidentally killed one of the pigs fitted with the SIR GPS/radio tracking collar, we ask that you please return it to the Hinchinbrook Shire Council office (contact phone numbers are on the collar) or the HCPSL office, so that our valuable research can continue. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
If you have any questions pertaining to Project Squealer or the Hinchinbrook Community Feral Pig Management Program, please contact: Lawrence Di Bella (HCPSL Company Manager) on 0448084252 or Matthew Buckman (HSC Biosecurity Team Leader) on 0439005471.