Wild pig release in coastal bush brings TB danger to region
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.