Can You Really Trap Feral Pigs with Your Cell Phone?

The Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (FSCP), a pilot program of the 2018 Farm Bill, just got a $75 million boost. ( APHIS )

Is it possible to trap feral pigs from your phone? A new high-tech device using cameras and motion sensors may give Australian farmers the ability to be notified of movement in a trap before dropping the trap to capture the animal.

When movement is detected in the trap, the landholder is notified with an alert on their smartphone or tablet, which allows them to look at a live stream to determine what the animal is, reports ABC News.

The technology works through a camera system which operates on 3G or satellite. The trap is elevated above the ground, pigs are lured in by feed placed in the trap and then the motion sensor and camera pick up on the animal’s movement.

The landowner gets an alert on their smartphone which allows them to look at real-time footage to see what’s in the trap. They can then instantly lower the trap at the press of a button, ABC News reports.

A Successful Start
The technology was tested between February and June on several properties in New South Wales. On one property, five wild pigs were caught in the trap within the first five days.

Using a mixture of feed, including wheat, molasses and corn kernels, the pigs were lured into the trap. The landholders said this new technology also allowed them to see other pests entering the trap such as foxes and cats.

"Given pigs are attracted by noise and reward, setting an automated feed station in the trap showed that pigs were attracted to it at certain times of the day," Central Tablelands Local Land Services Senior Biosecurity Officer Liam Orrock told ABC News. "There are limitations to the technology, but it's a start."

Explosive Feral Pig Numbers 
Feral pig numbers in New South Wales have exploded due to an abundance of feed after above-average rain this year. 

This technology is part of a larger strategy targeted at controlling feral pig numbers in this region of Australia. Other methods include ground and aerial baiting, shooting and trapping. 

The high-tech traps cost an estimated $8,000 each.

"Feral pigs are one of the biggest risks to biosecurity in the pest animal space and the need for pig control is higher than it's ever been," Orrock told ABC News.

Increased feral pig populations mean greater risk of disease being spread and damage to farmland. Minimizing possible disease vectors is critical, especially with foreign animal diseases like the deadly African swine fever looming in parts of the world. 

More from Farm Journal's PORK:

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