Feral Pigs Damage Australian Racecourse

Rooting hogs cause extensive damage at home and abroad.

Feral Pigs Damage Australian Racecourse

Rooting federal hogs in Australia caused enough damage to the Adelaide River Racecourse that a major race had to be moved to an alternate location. Photo: iStock/georgeclerk

Australia’s increasing problem with feral pigs was highlighted in spring when the Adelaide River racecourse was so damaged that a major horse race had to be relocated. 

Feral pigs destroyed the track surface, according to Thoroughbred Racing NT, moving in at night to root and eat the turf. Adelaide’s annual race had to be moved to Darwin, more than 100 miles away, a serious financial impact to the town. 

More attention has been focused on feral pigs in Australia as it grapples with the destructive spread. Researchers even have discovered that Northern Territory saltwater crocodiles have shifted their diet preferences from marine- to land-based prey, including pigs. 

Crocodile numbers were down to about 3,000 in 1971 when a hunting ban was imposed to protect them. Today, estimates top 100,000 of them in new areas as the predators have expanded and grown. Feral pigs in the Northern Territory’s freshwater floodplain have provided easy meals, enticing the saltwater crocs into new habitat. 

As is known in the United States, feral pigs pose myriad problems. Homeowners in many states see lawns, public parks and golf courses impacted by growing numbers of bold pigs. The annual financial impact on agricultural and other losses is in the billions. Federal and state officials are amid several programs trying to get more money allocated for control and eradication programs.


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