Pig hunters around the island including local growers are joining forces with the government agencies, the Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to tackle the problem of feral pigs on the island.
Api Vakaafi Motufoou is an experienced hunter and is working with the officials from DAFF and Environment to conduct workshops to teach local hunters and farmers techniques that will help bring down the number of feral pigs that are causing damages to peoples’ plantations impacting food security.
Motufoou conducted a workshop at Paliati last week at one of the plantations decimated by feral pigs. He told BCN news that this is not a new initiative but there is a need to teach the local farmers and new hunters how to snare and cull these wild feral pigs effectively.
Meanwhile, the Director of DAFF Poi Okesene is encouraging hunters to be mindful of the human treatment of animals even feral pigs.
He told of some inhumane methods of snaring or trapping the pigs that would injure the animal leaving it to suffer and this is not humane way. He says there is a need to find a balance, to protect the food plantations but also to be humane with the treatment of pigs. Okesene used an example of pigs with their snout damaged that they were not able to feed and eventually starved to death.
It’s understood that dangerous methods of culling the feral pigs used by some locals have killed other animals mainly dogs. Some people use weedkillers by pouring this poisonous chemical into containers so the pigs can drink from, but sometimes the dogs become the victims.
The Environment department has been leading the charge to cull the feral pigs using properly trained pig hunting dogs but even those dogs get injured and have died from being attacked by the pigs.
Api Motufoou is optimistic with the response to collaborate with the hunters, government departments and growers to try to minimise the damages to the plantations and cull the number of feral pigs on the island.