Wild pig re­lease in coastal bush brings TB dan­ger to re­gion

South Waikato News - - OPINION -

A group of wild pigs have been il­le­gally re­leased by hunters in bush at Raglan, prompt­ing fears of an out­break of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis.

Wild pigs can carry TB, ac­cord­ing to the An­i­mal Health Board.

They have the po­ten­tial to in­fect ar­eas in which the ex­ist­ing wildlife pop­u­la­tion is free of the dis­ease, par­tic­u­larly if hunters leave the head and of­fal in the bush.

Pos­sums and fer­rets scav­eng­ing on this ma­te­rial can be­come in­fected and spread the dis­ease to deer and cat­tle.

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion says it will do ‘‘what­ever is nec­es­sary’’ to stop the pigs be­com­ing es­tab­lished.

Neigh­bour­ing farmer Phillip Swann said he had re­cently seen an in­flux of wild pigs around his farm, an area pre­vi­ously cleared of TB in wild an­i­mals. ‘‘As a beef farmer, I have a lot to lose if TB rears its head in this area,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re talk­ing about farm­ers’ liveli­hoods here which could be threat­ened if TB was in­tro­duced.’’

The board’s north­ern North Is­land pro­gramme man­ager, Brent Web­ster, said hunters should also be aware of the risks when han­dling in­fected wild pigs.

Hu­mans can get TB from in­fected an­i­mals or their car­casses.

Good hy­giene when han­dling car­casses is es­sen­tial, he said.

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