Project: Controlling feral pigs in tropical rainforest
This project has two main objectives:
- Produce a detailed, systematic framework for the design of target-specific vertebrate pest control systems in complex faunal communities.
- Develop a system for the target-specific control of feral pigs in the Daintree region of Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Target-specificity is often an important constraint on the range of pest management tools available for a given situation. This problem is particularly acute in complex faunal communities, where the target pest can be functionally similar to one or more resident non-target species. Previous attempts to develop target-specific pest management tools have typically been ad hoc, or have proposed methodological frameworks that are conceptually too broad to be useful for complex communities.
This project has developed a methodological framework to guide the development of target-specific pest control tools for complex faunal communities. The framework has been applied to the problem of feral pigs in the rainforests of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Feral pigs are recognised as the most important vertebrate pest in the region, but pig control programs have been severely hampered by the potential for non-target impacts. Consequently, the damage caused by pigs has been largely unabated through much of the region.
The project has focussed on developing methods for target-specific poison baiting, by experimentally evaluating methods to selectively prevent particular groups of non-target species from consuming pig baits. Successful completion of the project will allow poison baiting to be considered as a feral pig control tool for the Wet Tropics, where control is currently limited to a small number of localised, labour-intensive trapping operations.
Andrew submitted his PhD in July 2010.
Bachelor of Science (Honours) (major in Zoology) James Cook University, 2003
Andrew had a prior career in the Army before following his interest in invasive species, working in pest animal and plant management in local government for two years. His main scientific interests lie in animal ecology, particularly the biology and ecology of invasive vertebrates and species of conservation significance.
Publications & Presentations:
Bengsen, A., Leung, L.K., Lapidge, S.J. and Gordon, I.J. (2010). Artificial illumination reduces bait-take by small rainforest mammals. Applied Animal Behviour Science, 127(1). 66-72.
Bengsen, A. J., L. K.-P. Leung, S. J. Lapidge, and I. J. Gordon. 2008. The development of target-specific vertebrate pest management tools for complex faunal communities. Ecological Management and Restoration,9(3). 209-216.
Bengsen, A. J., L. K.-P. Leung, S. Lapidge, and I. J. Gordon. 2008. Monitoring feral pig incidence using camera traps. Proceedings of 2nd Queensland Pest Animal Symposium, Cairns.
Uptake of Products and Strategies
University of Queensland
Field work primarily in the wet tropics area of far north Queensland
Professor Iain Gordon (CSIRO)
Dr Luke Leung (UQ)
Assoc Prof Steven Lapidge (IA CRC)
Inaugural winner of the IA CRC CEO's prize for excellence as an IA CRC student.