The perceived environmental and socio-economic impacts of feral pigs (Sus scrofa): a re-examination of their perceived pest status, and management implications

Koichi, Kana (2012) The perceived environmental and socio-economic impacts of feral pigs (Sus scrofa): a re-examination of their perceived pest status, and management implications. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) are declared as a major vertebrate pest in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA) of North Queensland, Australia. However, stakeholders' perceptions of their effects did not necessarily match their reported pest status. Almost unanimously, the environmental costs of pigs were considered to be significant because most stakeholders believed that pigs diminished the values that they attached to the rainforest. Nonetheless, those public 'values' which pigs damaged, did not match the experts' or scientific perspectives on 'values' of the WTWHA.

The socio-economic impacts of pigs had greatest perceptive variation among stakeholder groups, particularly among the local agriculture and tourism industries; and local residents. This was because feral pigs were valued either both as a resource and a pest, or neither a resource nor a pest. The main perceived costs associated with feral pigs were environmental, thus occurring in rainforest-dominant national parks. This resulted in feral pig management being seen as the responsibility of the government. Moreover, many stakeholders perceived that there was a lack of government action within national parks, and therefore, they were dissatisfied with the current management of feral pigs.

Management plays a crucial role in reducing the conflicts between stakeholders and feral pigs, and the methods used to control the animal need to be socially acceptable and cost-effective. Most stakeholders preferred trapping, compared to fencing, hunting and poisoning, because it entailed socio-economic benefits, and was perceived to be humane and target specific. Poisoning (1080) was the least favoured method mainly owing to its perceived lack of target specificity. Levels of social acceptability of the methods, however, varied considerably with social factors such as the type of stakeholder group and their socio-demographics, as well as cognitive factors such as perceptions of the severity of the problems associated with feral pigs.

Cost-effectiveness of the methods also varied, and trapping appeared to be the most cost-effective; however, simple reduction in numbers of pigs did not necessarily correspond to damage reduction; thus, cost-effectiveness based on population reduction was not an effective decision making tool in management. Feral pig management faces challenges in optimising socially acceptable and cost-effective control while accommodating various values of pigs held by different stakeholder groups.

Item ID: 40292
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: animal protection; crop protection; feral pigs; feral swine hunting; feral swine; government policies; human dimensions of wildlife management; human-wildlife conflicts; impact studies; North Queensland; perceptions; pest control; pests; pig hunters; pig hunting; socio-economic impacts; sus scrofa; trapping; Wet Tropics World Heritage Area; Wet Tropics; wild boar hunting; wild boar; wildlife management; WTWHA
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Chapter 7: Koichi, Kana, Cottrell, Alison, Sangha, Kamaljit K., and Gordon, Iain J. (2012) Are feral pigs (Sus scrofa) a pest to rainforest tourism? Journal of Ecotourism, 11 (2). pp. 132-148.

Chapter 7: Koichi, Kana, Cottrell, Alison, Sangha, Kamalijit K., and Gordon, Iain J. (2014) Implications of invasive alien species for rainforest tourism: a case study on feral pigs in Australia's Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. In: Prideaux, Bruce, (ed.) Rainforest Tourism, Conservation and Management: challenges for sustainable development. Routledge, New York, NY, USA, pp. 259-274.

Chapter 8: Koichi, Kana, Kaur, Kamaljit, Cottrell, Alison, and Gordon, Iain (2012) Aboriginal rangers' perspectives on feral pigs: are they a pest or a resource? A case study in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of Northern Queensland. Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, 15 (1). pp. 2-19.

Chapter 9: Koichi, Kana, Cottrell, Alison, K. Sangha, Kamalijit, and Gordon, Iain J. (2013) What determines the acceptability of wildlife control methods? A case study of feral pig management in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Australia. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 18 (2). pp. 97-108.

Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2015 04:27
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0702 Animal Production > 070205 Animal Protection (Pests and Pathogens) @ 40%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070308 Crop and Pasture Protection (Pests, Diseases and Weeds) @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 30%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950305 Conserving Natural Heritage @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960404 Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 70%
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