Aside from being a recreational and commercial resource for hunters, Pigs, Deer, Chamois, Thar and Goats are exotic pests' which threaten the natural biodiversity of wild New Zealand. I think, with good game management, a balance between introduced game species and conservation of native vegetation can be achieved. This means that by hunting and catching these animals, hunters are playing a role in conservation of our forests and their biodiversity, here, we will just focus on the wild hog.
Wild pigs play a slightly different role in the threat to biodiversity than do other introduced grazing animals, by upturning ground plants to access the succulent new shoots, roots and insects.
The reason these introduced mammals have such a severe impact on New Zealand flora is because our native forests had never experienced any predation from grazing mammals prior to the introduction of pigs (and other game). In fact, the only grazing animals that occurred naturally in New Zealand were the Moa, Takahe and Native Pigeon, so plants never had a chance to adapt to the grazing pressure and disturbance which pigs and the other introduced mammals present. As a result "The ... grazing of animals such as possums, goats, pigs and deer has severely impacted large areas of native forest, contributed to the extinction of several species of plants, and endangered many others." as stated by the Department of Conservation.
Pig hunting also provides the NZ animal health board with information on the spread or presence of Tuberculosis when carcasses from known locations are tested. These survey areas are adjacent to known TB trouble spots in order to monitor bovine TB spread.
Here I think it's appropriate to mention the damage done by pigs to farmed land through pig rooting and the economic impacts of pasture loss and reparation costs. Pigs can have devastating effects on pasture or croplands by digging and will also take the opportunity to graze the new growth on plants and newly planted crops. They are, therefore a major nuisance to farmers when uncontrolled.
By rooting up the ground, pigs play a role in erosion which can threaten soil and water values. The bare dirt exposed by pig rooting also provides an excellent opportunity for exotic weeds such as gorse and broom to take root, whether it be on the fringes of farmed land or within the native forest.
Pigs are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders, so if they can get their hooves on it, will eat meat aswell and are known to predate on cast sheep and young or vulnerable farm animals. Therefore they would take the opportunity to make an easy meal of eggs or chicks from a ground nesting native bird, our Powelliphanta land snail or other vulnerable native animals.
Being aware of the detrimental effects of pigs on our native NZ allows hunters, both local and overseas, to recognise that hunting the animals is not only a recreational sport and method of providing meat for the table, but also plays a key role in pest pig management in New Zealand. This role is largely underestimated by local councils and govt departments.
Website designed & hosted by WeDoWebsites