Feral pigs targeted to save endangered turtles

Published Tuesday, 18 February, 2014 at 07:00 PM

Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
The Honourable Steve Dickson

Feral pigs will be targeted under a joint State and Federal Government initiative to aid marine turtle recovery and continue the war on pests.

The Australian and Queensland Governments will jointly invest up to $7 million to help reduce the threat to marine turtle nests from feral pigs and protect Queensland’s iconic turtle populations both now and into the future.

The Australian Government will match the Queensland Government’s investment of $3.5 million over the next four years.

The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is home to three endangered turtle species. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said this program will help protect turtle eggs, hatchlings and habitat along the Queensland coast.

“Feral pig predation of turtle nests is one of the main threats facing marine turtle populations in Queensland. They prey on the eggs of our olive ridley, flatback, loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles.

Finding a way to stop this destruction of turtle nests is an important priority for both our Governments,” Minister Hunt said.

“In some areas along the coast up to 90% of turtle nests are lost to predation by feral pigs.

“Of greatest concern, and a priority for the Australian Government, is the protection of turtle populations nesting on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula.

“Turtle populations at most risk in these areas are the western Cape York populations of the olive ridley turtle, listed as ‘Endangered’ and the flatback turtle, which is currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’.

"We'll work with local indigenous communities to help stop the damage from feral pigs and protect our turtle populations " Queensland National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said lax pest management from the former Labor State and Federal Governments had resulted in national parks being overrun with feral animals.

“It is estimated there are up to 23.5 million feral pigs in Australia. They are one of the great challenges in managing national parks in Queensland due to the large amount of damage they cause to our ecosystems and wildlife,” Minister Dickson said.

“This program will also benefit other animals and birds that are preyed on by feral pigs.

“We’ll be identifying key nesting sites on the east and west coast that are priority areas for control efforts, and develop annual implementation plans and monitoring programs.

“We’ll also work with key landholders, including land trusts, natural resource management groups and other organisations to enhance existing feral pig control programs.”

Both Governments are committed to working together to protect Queensland’s unique and iconic marine environment.

In addition to working with the Queensland Government to protect turtle nest sites from feral pigs, the Federal Government is providing $5 million for dugong and turtle protection through the Reef 2050 Plan and Reef Trust.

Other initiatives include a comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef, a commitment to improving water quality, $40 million to establish a Reef Trust and continued protection under national environment laws.

[ENDS] 18 February 2013


John O’Doherty (Minister Hunt) 0402 047 852

Michelle Buckworth (Minister Dickson) 0418 433 647