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Working group proposes pod trial to counter feral pigs

Posted at 3:40pm Monday 17 Feb, 2020

The Pig Population Working Group set up to contain troublesome feral pigs in Puhoi and Ahuroa has proposed a “pod trial” in a bid to keep numbers down.

The pod trial will involve the compilation of a detailed land ownership map covering 13,500ha bordered by Waiwera in the south, Redwoods in the north, Wech Access Road in the west and State Highway 1 in the east.

Landholdings (or pods) will be colour-coded to identify landowners willing to allow Council-approved hunters on to their property, and if those hunters are permitted to hunt with dogs.

Spokesperson for the Pig Population Working Group Ian Hutchinson says the majority of the 13,500ha is owned by large block holders, private farms and forestry interests, and these already have well managed pig control programmes in place.

However, he says in recent years there has been an increase in rural lifestyle properties, which include covenanted blocks of bush. The covenants require landowners to fence their properties and control pests – including pigs – within them.  However, covenants are often ignored and are not enforced by Auckland Council.

“It's the perfect Club Med for pigs because no one is hunting them, and no one disturbs them,” Mr Hutchinson says.

“Landowners are not being reckless, they are just being naïve to the fact that they are creating a haven for pests and an inter-linked highway for them.”

At a meeting at the Puhoi Centennial Hall last August to discuss the problem, one pig hunter said the fact land had been cut into smaller blocks made hunting problematic. While a hunter might have permission to hunt on a single block, pigs quickly fled to neighbouring land, where a hunter might have no permission to hunt.

It's hoped the pod system will help resolve this issue.

Mr Hutchinson says pig sightings around Puhoi have been relatively rare of late, but hot weather has likely driven them deeper into the bush. Come winter time, they are likely to be out and about raiding people's gardens.   

The Pig Population Working Group was set up following the August meeting and comprises representatives from the Department of Conservation, Auckland Council, QEII National Trust, police and the local community.  

Residents wishing to report pig sightings or problems or who have any questions, should email pig@hc.co.nz

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