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Niue Pig Management Plan

Feral and wandering domestic pigs collectively cause significant environmental damage in Niue, chiefly to coconut crab populations, seedling coconuts, soil organisms, soil structure and fertility transfer. They also cause significant economic damage to plantations and domestic gardens. Feral pig eradication on Niue Island would impossible to both achieve and maintain in the current scenario of domestic pig management. Pig management practices vary from adequate to laissez faire, with constant escape and release from sties. This is due to lack of quality pig sty construction, high cost of supplied pig feed (which leads to pigs being released to forage in the wild), and logistical difficulty for most pig owners in maintaining regular pig watering and feeding regimes. Released domestic pigs interact with feral pigs and both wandering domestic and feral pigs contribute to the feral herd and in damage to crops and the environment. Any coordinated programme to improve pig management (housing, feeding, watering, etc) would take several years to be implemented to the stage where impacts on the feral pig herd and crop and environmental damage would be satisfactorily mitigated. It is therefore recommended that no programme to eradicate feral pigs be undertaken or considered. Instead, a programme of permanent suppression to very low pig densities should be implemented, in parallel with a programme of assistance to domestic pig owners that will make permanent penning more attractive and sustainable. This needs to be augmented by a comprehensive official pig identification programme which will act as a strong incentive to keep pigs contained.