Hey pigs, there’s a phone call for you

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

IT’S the mid­dle of the night.

In an or­chard near the rain­for­est, a band of feral pigs have been tempted in­side a wire mesh en­clo­sure through an open gate.

There’s no one else there but they haven’t gone un­no­ticed.

A coun­cil of­fi­cer re­ceives an email or an SMS alert. With the same tech­nol­ogy they use their phone to re­motely trig­ger the gate to close.

Next morn­ing coun­cil of­fi­cers go and erad­i­cate the pigs ef­fi­ciently and hu­manely – one less band of feral an­i­mals that are wreak­ing enor­mous en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age in Cape York.

Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil will trial the new tech­nol­ogy in the Dain­tree River catch­ment in ar­eas that re­ceive cel­lu­lar cov­er­age such as For­est Creek.

An ex­ter­nal booster an­tenna will be used in ar­eas where cov­er­age is weak to ex­pand the range of the de­vices.

Mayor Ju­lia Leu said the tech­nol­ogy is ex­tremely ef­fi­cient and will mean re­sources are not wasted with staff hav­ing to man­u­ally check and main­tain traps, which are of­ten lo­cated in re­mote rain­for­est ar­eas.

“Coun­cil’s feral pig trap­ping pro­gram has been ex­tremely suc­cess­ful over the past 12 years, re­mov­ing more than 6000 de­struc­tive feral pigs from the Wet Tropics,” Mayor Leu said.

“An ef­fec­tive trap­ping pro­gram also as­sists our farmers by mit­i­gat­ing the loss of in­come from feral pig dam­age to agri­cul­tural crops.”

Changes to leg­is­la­tion will also soon al­low ac­cred­ited land­hold­ers to pur­chase man­u­fac­tured 1080 baits them­selves.

A re­motely con­trolled pig trap­ping sys­tem of the type to be tested by coun­cil

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