Feral pigs can cause extensive environmental, social, cultural, and economic damage. Estimates of agricultural damage (and thus, impacts to economic values), from feral pigs can be hundreds of millions of dollars per year. They predate on native wildlife, destroy habitats, compete for resources with native wildlife, introduce invasive weeds, and disrupt the ecosystem services provided by wetlands. Feral pigs are a perennial management issue with strong seasonality in their impacts. Therefore, managing the impacts from feral pigs on the natural environment, and the ecosystems providing valuable ecosystem services, such as wetlands, requires a whole-of-system, values-based approach.
in Northern Australia and in the Wet Tropics may compete with native bird species, such as brolgas or cassowaries, for tubers and fruits. Find out more about the ecology of feral pigs.
A small group or even single feral pig can cause significant damage to wetland margins in a very short space of time. Because vegetation plays a critical role in stabilising the land, vegetation destruction by feral pigs can lead to higher rates of erosion and nutrient and sediment resuspension into the water column.
Impacts from feral pigs to wetlands can include:
habitat alteration and degradation from feeding, trampling, pugging, and wallowing activities
decreased water quality, including decreased water clarity (e.g., increased turbidity), reduced dissolved oxygen levels, and increased nutrient concentrations (e.g., increased ammonium levels)
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2021) Feral pigs, WetlandInfo website, accessed 13 May 2021. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/management/pressures/feral-pigs/