Amanda Elledge

Project: Environmental impacts of feral pigs in lowland rainforest

The main objectives of this project are to investigate habitat preferences of feral pigs for rooting in lowland rainforest, and assess the recovery of rainforest with the short- and long-term exclusion of feral pigs.

Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) have become established in a range of habitats worldwide. In the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of northeast Queensland, Australia, the feral pig is regarded as the most important vertebrate pest based on its current and potential impacts in the region, and the adverse effects and difficulty of control. Feral pigs forage for under-ground plant parts and invertebrates by turning over soil and litter with their snout. This process is often referred to as rooting or digging, and is known to alter ecosystem structure and function and impede plant regeneration.

Habitat preferences that may explain the selection of patches for rooting by feral pigs will be investigated and the benefits of rainforest recovery with the short- and long-term exclusion of feral pigs assessed. An understanding of feral pig habitat preferences can be used to help protect areas of high conservation value that are deemed most susceptible to continued damage by pig rootings. For example, this can be used either for the ongoing control of pigs in various locations and seasons, or for the long-term protection of high priority habitat by exclusion fencing. This project is part of the Invasive Animals CRC’s demonstration site for controlling feral pigs in tropical rainforest.

Background:

Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) specialising in Wildlife Biology. University of Queensland, Gatton

I enjoy working in the area of wildlife ecology and management, and have a strong interest in vertebrate pest management. I love being in the outdoors bushwalking, camping and taking lots of photos.

amanda_elledge

Project details

CRC Program:
Uptake of Products and Strategies

Locations:
University of Queensland
CSIRO Townsville
Field work primarily in the wet tropics area of far north Queensland

Supervisors:
Prof Iain Gordon (CSIRO)
Dr Clive McAlpine (UQ)
Dr Peter Murray (UQ)