Wild boars have rarely been sighted on the Gold Coast in recent years, but a record breeding season is a cause for concern for communities and local sugar cane farmers.
- Councilor Mark Hammell says a wet summer drove wild boar numbers up
- Wild boars have been monitored by surveillance cameras in a school on the northern Gold Coast
- According to Dan Galligan, CEO of Queensland Canegrowers, farmers spend several hours a week fighting the pest
Gold Coast Councilor Mark Hammell said the invasive animals were recently spotted in northern suburbs, including Jacobs Well, Ormeau, Norwell and Alberton.
“Wild boars are not new to this end of town,” he said.
“Wild boars in this number, it has been a couple of decades since so many wild boars were sighted.
“It is absolutely a concern for the local agricultural producers in the region.”
The concern is that the wild pests will damage the sugar cane fields on the northern edge of the city.
Wild boars can cause great damage to sugar cane crops if their population is not controlled. (
Cr Hammell, who lives on a rural estate on the northern Gold Coast, said weather conditions likely caused wild boar numbers to rise.
“The six months of wet weather we had earlier this summer … perfect for breeding,” he said.
“So many numbers jumping so fast can only be explained by a wonderful breeding season for them.
“Now the problem will be what we do to get them back under control.”
Cr Hammell said there needs to be a concerted effort between the council’s Vector Security, the local government’s equivalent of Biosecurity Queensland, and local sugar cane growers.
“We saw these pigs in some schools too,” he said.
“There have been several sightings at LORDS (Lutheran Ormeau Rivers District School) right on the edge of the Pimpama River.
“They are not a problem for the students, the sightings were mainly conducted in front of the camera over the weekend.”
The wild boars are believed to breed in the thick bushland along the Pimpama River and there are fears that they will spread to the nearby sugar cane fields.
Cr Hammell said farmers would shoot or bait wild boars sooner than their numbers rose in the 1980s.
“The chemical used in baiting wasn’t very good for the rest of the environmental (food) chain, so it was discontinued,” he said.
“There are now new, more environmentally friendly bait options that are only lethal to wild boars and do not harm other animals.
The Gold Coast City Council is considering what methods it will use to control the wild boar population. (
“It could be a combination of both, so Biosecurity will take care of it when working with landowners.”
Queensland Canegrowers Chief Executive Dan Galligan said wild boars are a major problem in the north of the state and it is uncommon to see high numbers of wild boar on the northern Gold Coast.
“In terms of what they can be, they are devastating,” he said.
“Once you get pigs in sugar cane, they can eat a lot of it and nest in the cane.
“It’s generally about the cover that the crop provides.”
Canegrowers CEO said a recent survey of farmers in the hardest-hit areas of the state found they spent several hours a week checking pig numbers.
“We’re sure to have to work with farmers on the north end of the Gold Coast to stop them before they get in,” said Galligan.
“Once they start breeding in these areas, they are a real problem.”
Chasing is not an option
Cr Hammell warned that the increase in the wild boar population at the northern end of the Gold Coast was not warranting a response from recreational hunters.
“Compared to 30 years ago, there are now many residential areas very close to the sugar cane fields,” he said.
“Anyone who has the idea of coming down and catching or killing wild boars in the area will remember that you are going to private property and that is trespassing.
“We’re not looking for hunters to come down and take care of it for us.”
The city council said experts were sensitive to the wild animals.
Gold Coast City Councilor Mark Hammell said pig baiting is an option that is being explored. (
ABC Landline: Kerry Staight
Risk of driving
Cr Mark Hammell said the pigs pose a risk to drivers as well as the animals are spotted along the busy Norwell roads.
“We would definitely warn locals or visitors to the area who are traveling along Norwell Road at night or especially in the morning or at dusk,” he said.
“Be very careful with wild boars as they will damage any vehicle.”